Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
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If you throw a dart at a map of the United States of America, chances are that you will land on a city that is home to a minor league baseball team. About a month ago, if you weren’t a dedicated Minnesota Twins fan, you had probably never heard of their Double-A affiliate, the New Britain Rock Cats. The one thing that I love about minor league baseball is the promotions, giveaways and antics that they stage to get people out to the ballpark. If I were any other minor league team, I would be taking some notes from the Rock Cats and their marketing department.
About three weeks ago, the Rock Cats of New Britain, Connecticut held a “Christmas in July” promotion night where the Rock Cat players wore Santa suit uniforms (with the yellow belt buckle to boot) and even replaced their names on the back with “Ho Ho Ho.” To make this oddly scheduled promotion even better for the fans, the first 1,000 fans received winter scarves as they entered the ballpark. Yes, it is the middle of the summer, but still, that’s awesome! When I first heard this story, I fell in love with the idea and thought that it was brilliant. But after I heard about their latest publicity stunt, it is obvious that this minor league team will do whatever it takes to get more fans.
A few days ago, like most minor league teams, there was a promotion for a lucky fan in between innings at a Rock Cats game. The young man answering the questions for prizes had his girlfriend on the field with him and for the final question, it looked like he had staged the question to be a marriage proposal for the lucky lady. After looking completely stunned, she said no to the proposal and ran off into the dugout as the boyfriend chased her. As expected, the video went viral and you can find it HERE with over 1.2 million views to date. As the views piled up throughout the day, it was released that the proposal was not the only thing that was “staged.”
Come to find out that the New Britain Rock Cats organization had staged the entire thing and that the “cute couple” was just two people that work for the Rock Cats. It was a publicity stunt that couldn’t have gone better and even though some light hearted people out there found it distasteful, I thought it was absolutely genius! The whole point of minor league baseball is to prepare ball players for the big leagues and do whatever it takes to get people out to the ballpark. Sometimes that task isn’t always easy for a Single-A or Double-A team, and that is when they have to get creative. The Vice President of Marketing for the Rock Cats, Mike Abramson, said in an interview with The Hartford Courant that, “we could not be more pleased with the outcome" and, “if anyone was offended by the promotion in any way we sincerely apologize.”
I tip my cap to the New Britain Rock Cats for their creativity and that their publicity stunt did exactly what they wanted it to do. Between dressing up like Santa Claus and fooling most of America, it is safe to say that you don’t have to be a die-hard Minnesota Twins fan to know exactly who the New Britain Rock Cats are now.