17 April, 2009

Friday Ad Haiku: Promotions and Giveaways

by Alicia Taft

Baseball is back! This year, I was lucky enough to enjoy my first Baltimore Orioles Opening Day. In addition to perks like watching the O's beat the Evil Empire and participating in Mark Teixeira's first game of Baltimore boos, I received an Orioles magnetic schedule, car magnet, and a scratch off ticket worth $3 (a third of a beer!).

Promo nights rule. April 10th was Fleece Scarf Night at Camden Yards, and you know those first 10,000 fans 15 and over are going to cherish that free piece of fleece, even if it's not exactly seasonally relevant (but then again, they might not get 10,000 fans 15 and over in chilly September, when the Orioles are usually continuing their painful fall down the basement steps*).

Ad Agency Confessional's own Matt McDermott was lucky enough to score this promo gem.

It's like the "but wait, there's more" of the baseball world, and the more could be a complimentary set of six official MLB toothpicks for all I care. It's something extra. More bang for my buck.

I unfortunately missed my opportunity to score the scarf, so I started poking around the Internet for some other baseball giveaways. A list of the most interesting promos of the 2008 MLB season includes fake soul patches and--yes--more cowbell. And 2009 MLB promos include Jayson Werth blankets for the ladies (sponsored by Motrin) and sandbox sets.

Pop some Motrin and snuggle with Jayson

But over the past few years, Minor League Baseball has really stolen the show. In addition to the typical t-shirt, magnet, bobblehead and hat freebies, some teams have come up with promotions that raise an eyebrow, like an eighteen-and-a-half minute Watergate moments of silence, an entire five innings of silence, paying customers to park, sheets of cork, and Turkish lira. Not to mention one team's "Van Down by the River" Night for this season.

These off-the-wall strategies can even pique the interest of non-fans, and perhaps turn them into regulars. Make them come for the promotion, but stay for the game--and maybe even keep coming back. Maybe you're not the head of marketing for a sports team. But if you're looking to drive in customers, maybe it's not so bad to step out of the batter's box every once in a while and try something out of left field. Yes, I am clever. Thanks for noticing.

So, bringing it back to the Friday Ad Haiku, today's topic is Promotions and Giveaways.

Glow-in-the-dark fan?
Of course I'll take one of those.
Just because it's free.

*I am merely pointing out trends of seasons past. I still have hope that my beloved team will surprise me this year. Why not, right?

Previously in the Friday 5-7-5: Eating FREE at the agency

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