Monday, April 14, 2008

Times Have Changed

I got an e-mail invitation to purchase tickets to an Astros promotional event where the first 10,000 fans are to receive a complimentary baseball cap. In the not too distant past, if memory serves, promotional events were geared toward most all fans who attended.

I don’t have the figures in front of me; but the Astros average above 30,000 per game. Lucy and I went to a game last year where the first 10,000 stood in a line that went all the way around the stadium to receive an orange throw blanket with the Astros logo. We watched them open the last box of give away blankets and were lucky enough to go home with our souvenirs; but those behind us didn’t get one and the impression I had was, “Those cheap sons of guns; if you’re gonna’ do somethin’, do it right!”

Yes, the stuff they hand out costs money; but are they getting good advertising results by irritating two thirds of those attending or are they crating the impression which I suggested a moment ago, “Those cheap sons of guns; if you’re gonna’ do somethin’, do it right!” There’s an old expression, “I’d rather have a hamburger served properly than a steak in the face.” There’s something insulting about intentionally ignoring two thirds of the fans, not because you didn’t know they were coming; but because you were unwilling to provide for them.

The way they used to do it everyone entering the ball park got an Astros baseball cap to wear all season long, a way to support the team and keep your head covered. The lines were just as long; but almost everyone got a baseball cap because the sponsors provided for a near sell out crowd, not just the first 10,000. I’d rather buy my own Astros baseball cap down at WalMart than stand in line for an hour.

I was at the game the night Craig Biggio reached the magic 3000th hit in his career. Every fan leaving the park was given a poster to commemorate the night, every fan; not just the first 10,000 who exited. My thanks to the Houston Chronicle for doing a promotion in the proper spirit, you did it right.

Here’s an idea, get more than one sponsor to go in halves or thirds on a promotional event in order to obtain enough advertising money to do it right. If they get in a pinch have them call T. F. Stern & Co. Locksmith; I’m sure we could spring for a few baseball caps as long as the fans knew where they came from.

“The first 10,000 caps were donated by AT&T, the second 10,000 were donated by Finger’s Furniture, then 10,000 were donated by Dr Pepper and those other 5 caps almost broke the bank; but T. F. Stern and Co. Locksmiths hope you enjoy your Astros Baseball Cap Day here at Minute Maid Park. The Astros thank you for attending.”

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