Maybe it's because we have all become too politically correct, or maybe it's because there is sooo much time spent on trying to be the most techno-savvy we can be that the simple, grassroots and fun promotions aren’t as fun or “interesting” as they once were. For whatever reason, even with all the opportunities available to promote through new media, the “stunt” is becoming more and more of a lost art. April 1, aka April Fool's Day, was always one of the best points where media, teams, athletes, could look for ideas that were able to capture the imagination and even if for a few minutes give people pause and some fun. One year the New York Islanders pretended to forfeit a game and save their travel time to the Minnesota North Stars…then there was the legendary Sidd Finch, created by George Plimpton and the folks at Sports Illustrated. Those were just one or two of many over the years. One brand has seized the opportunity, although more tongue in cheek, to use April 1 as a platform for sports promotion and to have a little fun. Pirate Brands announced that the New York Mets have “traded” star third baseman David Wright to…well, the Pirates. The press release and all the great digital platforms around it went out on the 31st, and generated some fun buzz and great images for the move, which was essentially a dry announcement about Wright joining the company's board and getting an equity stake with the group (although they will be creating healthy snack alternatives for kids and will work with Wright's Foundation). Still, they made something that was not much into something, using the April Fools platform. Great spin, nice visuals, and it took the day for what it is suposed to be, lighthearted engagement in a very unique way.
Some other recent reads…for those who havent yet, the New York Times magazine piece on the Tiger effect is a must read…as is Frank Deford’s SI piece about sports writing…and the Washington Post's Mike Wise has a good piece on Butler's real life Jimmie Chitwood, Marvin Wood