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A Tasteless Event …or the Greatest Promo of All Time?

March 17th, 2008

A week has gone by and nearly every possible angle of the Eliot Spitzer story has been reported on by now. But just when the media may have begun to lose inspiration, a minor league baseball team in Macon, Georgia is keeping it alive.

Last week, the Macon Music announced the team would host “Eliot Spitzer Night,” a “tribute” to the fallen governor featuring fan specials inspired by the sordid details of his prostitution scandal. Now, I’ve always said minor league teams have the most creative promos, but this one really takes the cake. Consider these treats for fans:

- A New York Vacation including a one night stay at the MayFlower Hotel
- Client #9 (a.k.a. the 9th fan through the gates) receive a free Music prize pack
- Any fan with the name Eliot, Spitzer, or “Kristen” will receive $1 off admission
- ATMs will be available for cash withdrawals not to exceed $5,000 per hour
- Any fan who has resigned their position will be given $1 off admission
music logo

Not surprisingly, there’s been a flurry of opposition to the event, undoubtedly intensified by the national press attention that includes mentions by ESPN, the Washington Post and FoxNews. (Just when you thought there was no room for politics in sports, along comes a story that’s tailor made for “Mike and Mike.”)

But regardless of the debate over ethical integrity of the event, the real question for the Music should be whether or not the event reinforces its brand. You see, minor league sporting events are typically a big draw for families, and the Music games are no exception. The team’s mission even says so:

“Through our National Pastime, the Macon Music will provide affordable family entertainment to the citizens of Middle Georgia and the surrounding areas while serving as a loyal partner to the community.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not so sure hookers, adultery and exploitation of a public office do a whole lot to further that mission.

In response to the controversy, the Music’s management has made the best decision it could make at this point: they’re leaving the decision up to its fans. A week-long online poll will determine the fate of the event, drawing more traffic than ever to the South Coast League team’s website. And so far, the families have spoken – just over 50% of voters say the promo should be cancelled.I don’t know about you, but I’m not so sure hookers, adultery and exploitation of a public office do a whole lot to further that mission. In response to the controversy, the Music’s management has made the best decision it could make at this point: they’re leaving the decision up to its fans. A week-long online poll will determine the fate of the event, drawing more traffic than ever to the South Coast League team’s website. And so far, the families have spoken – just over 50% of voters say the promo should be cancelled.If only Eliot had polled Music fans before making a few decisions of his own…

Posted Under: Branding, Public Relations
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