Sunday, October 16, 2005

Not So Great Moments in Marketing

Last weekend was disastrous for Minnesota sports teams. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much better for the marketers plying their trade at the University of Minnesota hockey games this weekend. Here are two examples:

1. The StarTribune marketing department showed that it has no better grasp of human nature than the editorial department. Here was their promotion: two beach balls were tossed into the stands to be batted around while music played. Whoever had possession of the beach ball when the music stopped would win an iPod shuffle.

If you can’t predict what happened once the audience understood what was going on, you may be unemployable anywhere other than the StarTribune. The first person the ball came to wrapped his arms around it as if protecting a rebound. Someone yanked it away and ran up the stairs with several others giving chase (all the while deflating the beach ball to make it harder for the chasers to steal away). It was kind of amusing and no one seemed to have been hurt in the scramble, but I don’t think a scrum was what they had in mind. They didn’t run the promotion the next night; I guess they were back at the drawing board.

2. Pork is a sponsor of Gopher hockey this year. I like pork, so I kind of enjoy seeing “PORK” in big letters on the scoreboard. I also have no problem with the idea of a “Kids Cam” that shows cute kids on the scoreboard during breaks in the action. But, combining the two with a caption that says “PORK Kids Cam” just puts off too much of a Michael Jackson vibe for my taste.


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