The Washington Nationals played their home opener on Thursday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 41,650. The first 25,000 fans to arrive at Nationals Park received a pair of white Nationals sunglasses and a durable red carrying case.
The irony of a sunglasses giveaway for a game that would be delayed for 1 hour and 25 minutes was not lost on many witty fans on social media. When the sun reemerged from the storm clouds, fans began to unzip the Curly W glasses cases and slide on their new shades.
I have a feeling that if the @Nationals were giving out ponchos instead of sunglasses today we’d have nothing but blue skies.
— p.a.m. (@wvtoots) April 7, 2016
— Tim McKay (@timmckay1104) April 9, 2016
This Nationals promotion is deserving of praise for its originality. Over the last six years of attending Nationals games and promotional events, I have come across just one other pair of Nationals promotional sunglasses. That pair of red glasses was distributed at NatsFest in 2014 when the team was promoting its presence on social media.
The marketers also did a good job differentiating themselves from the other teams around the league who mostly distributed Opening Day schedule magnets and, in a few cases, rally towels. Originality was also preserved while maintaing a high level of utility which was lost on many fans last season with the distribution of Opening Day tins.
Many fans already have a preferred pair of sunglasses which will undoubtedly relegate this new pair to a solid backup position (see: Jose Lobaton). They will, however, get a lot of wear from this writer who won’t turn down an opportunity to represent the Nationals!