08 September, 2008

That Soft, Subtle Baseball Bat to the Kneecaps

I've been sitting on this for a while, waiting for the baseball season to really hit full stride before I broke it out.   But with my favorite team currently water-proofing the basement of the American League East, what's it matter anymore?  

To hell with it:

I stumbled onto a series of "instructional" baseball videos, Hardball Made Easy, sponsored by Easton and hosted by career minor leaguer "Scrappy" Ron Stilanovich.  Scrappy Ron shares his nuanced approach to teaching the game, from blocking the plate to fighting off a hobo ambush, while pro ball players stop by to teach painful lessons like learning how to lean in to a 95 mph fastball.  

At the end of each video, viewers get a quick glimpse of Easton's new HitMatrix bat in action as major leaguers turn home plate into a veritable launch pad.  While it's an aluminum hitgasm for any kind of serious baseball player, the lackluster view count may underscore the waning popularity of our national past time.   The most popular episode had about 45K views--not that impressive considering a couple hundred of those views were me, thoroughly soused after company softball games, clicking and laughing to myself before everything went dark.

The videos are entertaining and on point; the writing is big and dumb, right up the alley of teenage players. But the marketing folks at Easton dropped the ball on this one.  They failed to drive traffic to the videos, dooming them to the fate of most would-be virals.  Where's the point of purchase tie-in?  The targeted media buys during the Little League World Series?  The only collateral I could find was a text link to the videos buried in the bowels of their website.   It's a shame, really: a nice little project that no one will ever see and probably won't amount to much.

Kind of like playing for the Kansas City Royals. 

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