Here at Grand Prize Promotions, we always like to say, “If you can dream it, we can insure it.” No promotion is too crazy, and we enjoy accepting a challenge. To see just how crazy it could get, we started to uncover history’s wackiest promotional techniques ever executed, and some of them are just down-right hysterical!
It’s clear these promotions could have used some assistance from our creative services department but, without further ado, here are seven of the craziest ones we could find:
Toilet Seat Night: In efforts to promote the Hudson Valley Renegades’ games, there were toilet seats given away to the first 3,000 fans who arrived at the game in 2007. This promotion was to raise awareness about the quality of water in the Hudson River. As a bonus, the toilet seat doubled as stadium seating because it was cushioned. It might sound crazy, but this promotion was actually a follow up to 2006’s Plunger Night, where plungers were given away for the same purpose. We can’t imagine this promotion helped encourage attendance to the games, but maybe it served its purpose and raised awareness. Either way, it was crazy enough to make our list.
Britney Spears Baby Safety Night: “Hit me baby one more time.” Britney Spears was a pop sensation back in the late 90s to early 2000s, but in a less shining moment, she was reamed by the press for not putting her baby in a car seat while driving. Later it was said she finally put her son in the baby seat but had it in forward-facing position instead of rear-facing which means she was still ignoring the manufacturer's instructions. The Newark Bears decided to capitalize on this by creating a promotion based on the issue. In 2006, fans received free admission for doing one of the following: bringing their baby to the game, dressing up as a baby, or bringing baby toys. The fans were then given a pamphlet on baby car seat safety and later entered in a raffle for a free car seat courtesy of the American Automobile Association. To top it off, the Bears played a team called the Road Warriors that night. We are assuming there was no pun intended. While this promotion was crazy enough to make the list, it’s another example of using a somewhat wacky promotion to raise awareness about a serious issue. (We were able to locate one of the original articles if you want to read up on the promotion.)
Bellies and Baseball: In 2009, the Brooklyn Cyclones held a promotion that all pregnant women loved, and it was so successful they continue to do it today. The Cyclones invite all expecting families to come and participate in a variety of themed activities including, but not limited to, Barefoot and Pregnant, Craving Station, etc. This link will provide you with a full list of the activities and descriptions for the day of! If anyone gave birth before the game was over, they won free season tickets for life, but the real prize would be the story you get to tell.
Twilight Night: Never in a million years would you think that someone would use the Twilight craze to promote their games; however, the Jacksonville Suns partnered with Blood Alliance to offer free admission to anyone that donated blood at their donor centers, like the ones in North Florida or St. Mary’s. This promotion took place in June 2010, and the blood drive lasted from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your free tickets were then accompanied by a complimentary hot dog, soda, and souvenir. Interested in more details? Click HERE!
Snuggie Night: The Cleveland Cavaliers were looking to not only set records in basketball, but also in the Guinness Book of World Records. And yet, it had nothing to do with basketball. On March 5th, 2010, their aim was to set the record for the most fleece blankets of one color in one location at the same time. They had approximately 20,500 fans in snuggies after handing them out for free. Not only did they successfully created a new world record, but they were also able to pack the stands like they intended! We found more information on the topic here!
Michael Jordan Look-Alike Night: What seemed like a great promotional idea turned out to be a big flop! The NBA Development League’s Utah Flash were trying to attract fans by promising a Michael Jordan and Byron Russel showdown. However, Jordan never responded, and the Flash had to come up with a solution because they widely promoted the idea. The Flash had a Michael Jordan look-alike jump on the court to duel it out with Russel, but the fans were not so pleased. Even though they met their goal of filling the arena, the Flash ended up having to refund all the fans their money. While the 2009 promotion turned into an unexpected disappointment, it is still getting attention as it continually gets mocked today. We uncovered an article about the Utah Flash Owner apologizing for the hoax.
$1000 Cash Drop: Is money your love language? There is no doubt that money drives people to do insane things. In 2006, the West Michigan Whitecaps came up with an idea that would include lining kids up along the outfield fence, dropping $1,000 from a helicopter, and letting the kids pick up whatever they could get! What possibly could go wrong, right? Well, one example is that two kids were trampled, one of which was hospitalized. In efforts to defend the promotion, Katie Kroft, a spokeswoman, was criticized for saying, “This is why we have everyone sign a waiver.” Clearly not the best response to a group of angry mama bears!
So, what can we learn from this? Before history repeats itself, make sure you do your research. There are promotions that work and ones that don’t, and there are things to remember before planning your promotion like:
- Safety First – yes, even if they sign a waiver.
- Have your ducks in a row before promoting (and always avoid a Michael Jordan impersonator).
- Just because it’s a popular craze doesn’t mean it’s a good promotion!
GPP wants your promotion to be as successful as it can be, and being the market leader, we can make it happen. Don’t have an idea for a promotion or afraid yours might end up on next year’s list? Let’s talk about options for your event. Our creative team has 30+ years of experience in crafting promotions that drive revenue and generate excitement. For more information on how to create the best promotion for you, click here or visit us at www.grandprizepromotions.com/contact-us-gpp.