At Gravity Digital, baseball has become part of our culture. We love it. We plan conference attendance based on what game we can see while we’re there.
Normally we go to major league games, but minor league games are just as entertaining… albeit for different reasons. If you’ve been to an Milb game, you know what we’re talking about. These teams will do just about anything to get people to the ballpark. Wacky stuff. And we’re here for all of it.
Here are some of our minor league baseball promotions.
San Antonio Missions – Randy vs. Puffy Taco, the Rematch
You’ve seen these races at ballparks. They’re not that uncommon. The Washington nationals have racing presidents, The Brewers have racing sausages, Atlanta has The Freeze, and the San Antonio Missions have… Puffy Taco.
Puffy had never won a race. Except once. Against a guy named Randy.
The Missions decided that a Randy vs. Puffy Taco rematch might get some fans to the ballpark. Here’s what happened.
Fresno Grizzlies – Taco Truck Throwdown
Sometimes the best things have simple beginnings. The Fresno Grizzlies started with a Taco Truck Throwdown. Lots of people showed up. Like, LOTS of people. So they did it again the next year in a bigger location. Then… they decided to do the event weekly (on Tuesdays of course), and… wait for it…
on Tuesdays the Fresno Grizzlies actually change their name to the Fresno Tacos!
Missoula Osprey – Float to the Ballpark
If you love baseball and you love the outdoors, the Missoula Ospreys may be your team.
Imagine this. An hour and a half or so before game time, you and some friends get in a raft and paddle downriver. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what river it is or if it’s scenic, but in my mind it’s beautiful
Then… just before first pitch, you float right up outside the ballpark and walk right in to enjoy America’s Pastime. Sounds like a dream to me.
New Britain Rock Cats – Failed Marriage Proposal
You’ve seen marriage proposals at ballgames before, right? The bride always says yes, except when it’s staged by a baseball team.
Yeah, the New Britain Rock Cats faked a failed marriage proposal and when people found out they were upset! The General Manager ended up reaching out to angry fans and ended up converting eight of them to season ticket holders! What a salesman!
So basically, it was one big lead gen campaign.
El Paso Chihuahuas – Bark in the Park Jerseys
One thing that’s common around minor league baseball is off-the-wall jerseys to go with off-the-wall mascots. The El Paso Chihuahuas set the bar here with their chihuahua face jerseys that they wear on “bark in the park” night. If you don’t know, “bark in the park” is a promotion that’s common even in the major leagues where fans are encouraged to bring their dogs to the ballpark. This fits right in with what they’ve got going on over there in El Paso.
Toledo Mud Hens – “Back to the Future” Doubleheader
As we all know, 2015 was the year that Marty McFly arrived in the future in Doc Brown’s Delorean from the year 1985 in order to save his future family from tragedy.
The Toledo Mud Hens decided to create a promotion to celebrate this event in tandem with a double-header. The first game of the day was to feature “throw back” jerseys as a nod to the past, and in the second game players would wear jerseys that would symbolize the future… er… the present.
We love the concept here, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired in our opinion. Judge for yourself…
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – Man vs. Marathon
If you don’t know, Scranton is a place where people love to run. One of the most famous races in the town, of course, was “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.”
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders also hosted a less-well-known, but just as amazing race of their own called “Man vs. Marathon”. This is a promotion where 12 teams had to run a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles) around the stadium while the game was going on. They started at the beginning of the game and had to finish by the last out. Only one team was able to finish the just over 3-hour relay race.
Multiple Teams – Baseball and the Eclipse
Every time there’s a solar eclipse, a lot of businesses look for ways to capitalize on it. Minor league baseball is no exception. It’s common to receive a pair of “eclipse glasses” upon entry to the ballpark, so you can enjoy both baseball and the celestial event at the same time. Bonus.
Syracuse Chiefs – Brannock Devices Night
It’s common for minor league teams to change their entire brand regularly, especially at the lower levels. Sometimes they’ll change things up for a season, sometimes on special days (like the Fresno Tacos), or sometimes it’s just for one game. This is our favorite of these examples because it’s so completely random. At least for those of us not from Syracuse.
In the 1920’s Dr. Brannock (of Syracuse) invented the Brannock Device – which is the foot measuring thing they use at shoe stores. The Syracuse Chiefs decided that for one night they would become the “Syracuse Devices” to immortalize Dr. Brannock’s contributions to the town and to all people with feet.
We love the mascot and logo design and the absolute quirky-ness of this promotion. Well done Chiefs… er… Devices.
Charleston RiverDogs – Helen McGuckin Night
We’ve saved our favorite for last.
To introduce this promotion, let me ask you a question. What do you do when someone leaves a poor or average Google review for your business? Do you even know when that happens? Do you ignore it? Send out some kind of automated response? Belittle them in a righteous tirade?
Take note from the Charleston RiverDogs. This is how you do it.
Helen McGuckin left a 2-Star Review for the team along with the note “just drove by.” She’s a Local Guide, so apparently she does this a lot. Let’s just pause and appreciate Helen for a moment.
So, the RiverDogs reach out to Helen and invite her to “Helen McGuckin Night” at the ballpark in an effort to change her mind (and review).
If you were Helen, would you go? I sure would!
Alas, Helen declined the invitation, so the team was forced to use a Helen McGuckin lookalike for the event. Amazing. I love these marketers.
The result was great press and TONS of five star reviews on Google.
So what can we learn from these zany minor league baseball promotions? Here are my thoughts:
Marketing should be fun.
People respond to off-the-wall ideas.
You can get a big response sometimes without spending much money.
Don’t fake a failed marriage proposal unless you’re really good at sales.