Nats Gallery Blog will periodically review the 2015 Washington Nationals promotions and giveaways. The promotional schedule was released the second week of February and it generated lots of publicity. It would be hard for any media outlet to pass up a story on a Jayson Werth Chia Pet! We still believe that there is still plenty to discuss and we will give the promotions and giveaways letter grades (A-F) based on three criteria–excitement, originality and satisfaction.
The first 25,000 fans who attended Opening Day yesterday received a commemorative tin. The tin which commemorated the Nationals tenth season in Washington is pretty simple. It has “2015 Collectors Edition” and “Washington Nationals” engraved on its long sides and a commemorative logo on the lid. The tin came wrapped in a colorful paper cover that advertises the 10-Year Tuesday giveaway games.
The timing of the giveaway was perplexing. Nationals fans may be surprised to discover that caps are not actually common giveaways on Opening Day. Actually, the most common giveaway yesterday around the league were magnetic schedules. Fans at ten other ballparks received the schedules. Tigers fans were treated to rally towels. Mariners fans went home with a “K Cloth” and a magnetic schedule. Yankees fans and Reds fans went home empty handed.
This promotion could have easily been timed better if the thought behind this promotion was that children would be the tins as lunch boxes. The Tampa Bay Rays, for example, are distributing tin lunch boxes to children 14 and under on a weekend when more children will be in attendance.
Fan enthusiasm did not exactly spill onto social media. Those who commented did so with sarcasm and indifference. One tweet read, “OK, the #Nats opening day giveaway, a commemorative tin, is like being handed a lunch bucket when you enter the stadium. #toobig.” Another read, “#Nats in danger of losing on Commemorative Tin Night. Tsk tsk tsk #MLBOpeningDay.” There were no photos of fans showing off their tins in selfies and no true positive comments. Fans did not wave their commemorative tins during the games like they do their caps during the veterans salute. In general, it did not seem like the Nationals were fully vested in the success of this rather ordinary giveaway.
Fans at the ballpark seemed uncertain about how they would use their new tins. It could be a handle-less lunch box or a ticket storage container (for those who still use paper tickets). Another fan I spoke with said he would store is 10-Year Tuesday promotions in the box.
Some credit should be given to Valerie Camillo–the chief revenue and marketing officer for the Washington Nationals–and the rest of the marketing team for coming up with an original promotion. Unfortunately, the originality of the promotion was not coupled with enough innovation or excitment to make this a truly “out of the ballpark” promotion.