|Source: NBC Hardball Talk (Aaron Gleeman)|
Yesterday, as I'm sure you've heard by now, the Twins released a "brand" survey to some fans, which included the question "[c]urrently, which one brand is the most similar to the Twins brand?" The answer choices were all automobiles: Taurus; Volvo; Mustang; Ford pick-up; Cadillac Escape; BMW; Mercedes; Mini Van; Dodge Viper; Prius Hybrid. Accompanying the car names were descriptors such as "fast and sporty," "quality and luxury," and "efficient and forward-thinking." Of course, none of these automobiles, and none of these descriptors, match the Twins. Maybe mini van comes the closest, but perhaps a more accurate descriptor for the current Twins brand -- "cruising" toward its 4th consecutive 90-loss season -- would be "my '97 Honda Civic after the CD player was stolen and there was a big hole so you could see almost into the engine."
Not surprisingly, this question became a laughingstock. How bad did it get? Keith Olbermann named the Twins' marketing department as his nightly "World's Worst." On national television.
Fast-forward nearly 24 hours later, and the Twins have yet to say anything publicly about this. Nothing on Twitter from the team, President Dave St. Peter or Mike Kennedy (Twins PR). Do they need to apologize? Of course not. It was a stupid little marketing brand question that went viral, and that seems to happen frequently these days as businesses realize the importance of social/digital marketing and venture into previously uncharted territory. But it did suggest that, perhaps, the organization hasn't learned much in the past year. If the front office really thinks that the Twins are anything like a BMW, or are "urban and street-wise" (how can that even translate into athletics???), or any of those other vehicles or descriptors, the front office is still very much out of touch with what is apparent to everyone else.
Social media and digital marketing failures happen all the time. And people get past them. But this is still an embarrassment for the Twins who, in my opinion, are usually pretty good with their ads and marketing stuff. To do nothing for 24 hours, especially after you've been taken down on national television, is just stupid. So what do I suggest? Think like a minor league team would. Do something outside the box. Just. Do. Something. I'm not just going to sit here and make fun of the team without suggesting alternatives. So here are 2 awful ideas.
1) Really own this failure and give away a mini van at the last home game of the season. Or donate one to one of the many deserving MN nonprofits. It can be from Mauer Chevrolet. 2) Have a Keith Olbermann day at the ballpark. Invite him to throw out the first pitch. Or ban him from the ballpark for life. Whatever. Free or discounted tickets to people with the legal name "Keith" or "Olbermann." If your birth name is "Keith Olbermann," you get Champions Club seats.
Now, I'm an attorney, and I rarely get involved on the creative side at my job. You can see why. But at least these ideas are something. It's better than silence. At the very least, Dave St. Peter should get on twitter (where he is very accessible and patient with fans), and say something funny to Olbermann. Maybe take him down a peg?? Again -- something. Like the batting practice thing, this will go away in a few days. But the team: a) demonstrated once again that it's out of touch with reality; and b) missed an opportunity to turn an embarrassing negative into something positive, or at least a little funny.