MLB’s fan-riven final spots for the All-Star team have always made for fun competition, and in the past few years the advent of social media components have driven the fan awareness factor to new heights. The teams have come up with a series of creative campaigns to drive awareness, making the old process of ballot box stuffing a thing of the past, while helping bring more casual awareness to the game and to the Mid-summer Classic, one of the few All-Star competitions in professional sport which still finds ways to draw renewed interest every year. So while the Phillies Shane Victorino and the White Sox Paul Konerko earned the victory by grabbing the last two All-Star spots through fan votes, it was really the Detroit Tigers late creative push that stole the show and maybe grabbed the most publicity of any All-Star push. A combination of good timing and a cute charismatic young face brought the Tigers Victor Martinez storming through the pack in the final days, almost taking the spot of his division rival in next Tuesday’s game.
The campaign was simple and effective. Martinez’s young son Victor Jose Martinez, took the stage in full Tigers regalia, accompanied by dad and mascot, and delivered a simple, and multilingual pitch to fans to vote for his dad. In a few hours the video, which also had a nice little pop from the Tigers mascot, became a You Tube sensation, and the casual votes for Martinez flooded in. It was not expensive, it was not flashy. It delivered a simple message with the youngest and most sincerest of fans, and really spoke to the effective traditions of baseball…the relationship and the legacy of a game passed down from father to son. It was a great reminder that even in an over the top digital world, the most basic of campaigns can still be effective if they are sincere and speak to the core message, and in the case the Martinez family delivered a simple message that transcended the ages and the commercialism we deal with every day. It was fun, crisp and clean, and certainly worthy of all the attention it delivered. Hopefully even with Victor missing the game, the campaign finds its way to the Fox broadcast on Tuesday, as it is certainly worthy of All-Star promotion. Nice reminder of all the good in the business again by Detroit, a franchise which has been at the heart of a recovering region for the past few years.