The final days of another playoff-less season for the New York Mets have gone pretty quietly. Except for the anticipation of R.A. Dickey winning 20 games and perhaps David Wright becoming the all-time team hits leader, the air left the CitiField balloon for the most part around the All-Star Game. Try as they will to drum up interest, their final homestand will pass quietly and pretty much uneventfully except when Dickey takes the hill for an afternoon game Thursday.
However the Mets media partner, SNY, found a way to enliven a little interest in their broadcasts, draw in an extra advertiser and raise money for charity all in one fell swoop. The broadcaster found a way to make nothing out of something so to speak, by having legendary first baseman and team announcer Keith Hernandez shave his moustache for charity prior to the teams home finale.
Now shaving his ‘stache is no small task. In 2007 the hair on Hernandez’s upper lip was voted the best ever in sports by the American Mustache Institute and along with the goatee of Knicks legend Walt Frazier, became the icons around which the hair dying product Just For Men built its marketing campaign around for years. However that partnership ended in the spring, and Hernandez legendary ‘stache has grayed without its ever-present treatment. The graying hair became the subject of debate during a Mets broadcast, and SNY jumped upon the opportunity to make some chicken salad.
They not only created an online campaign to support the shaving, they found a sponsor, Schick Hydro, to conduct a nationwide search for a celebrity barber to come in and do the deed. They then topped the promotion off with a solid charity tie, donating $5,000 in the name of Hernandez’s mother to the Jacquelyn Hernandez Adult Day Health Center in Brooklyn, which helps Alzheimer’s patients and elderly and disabled people Hernandez died of Alzheimer’s in 1989).
While the shaving will happen in Queens and probably could have become an even bigger lunchtime spectacle at SNY’s mid-town New York studios, the event will still draw a crowd. It comes early enough in the day for news crews to make it out to Queens and does not go up against any other events other than late week Jets and Giants practices…the Yankees are out of town, no hoops yet and the NHL lockout has all ice still melted for the areas three pro teams. There is also no major college football to go up against, and the game could even draw some additional baseball press with Dickey going for his 20th. Suddenly a sleeper of a day game in September has meaning, fun and even some media interest beyond the sports pages.
What will happen to Keith’s shaved whiskers? No one is saying yet, but with or without the mustache, SNY found a great way to drive brand value where there was less than none. Nice job with a promotion that hits on all fronts…an event, a digital promotion, a brand activation and a celebrity fundraiser rolled into one, with legs beyond the event and into the offseason for the broadcasters and the Mets as well.