Every March, baseball fans cheer on their favorite leprechauns in the infield and outfield, as a number of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams embrace the traditional "wearing o' the green" for St. Patrick's Day. This game has become a great niche marketing opportunity as the sports franchises sell a wide array of green T-shirts, jerseys and caps at the game, as well as at retail stores and online.
In 1978, the idea to wear specially designed green uniforms appeared to come out of the blue to Cincinnati Reds' general manager Dick Wagner. He surprised everyone, including management and players on the team, when he ordered custom emerald green uniforms, caps and catcher's gear for a spring training game on March 17. No one had any idea he had done this until game day, when green uniforms were hung on each of the player's lockers. From head to toe, any part of the uniform that was traditionally red was green in that game.
It was a publicity stunt that caught on; for the past 35 years, a number of other teams have gone green for St. Patrick's Day. According to a spokesman for the MLB, 10 teams wore green this year. Some kept it simple with green caps or batting gloves. Some, like the Mets, wore green jerseys and hats, and even used shamrock bases on the field. The Cincinnati Reds debuted this year's jersey at a fan event in December.
The Boston Red Sox, home of the Green Monster, have been wearing green hats since 1990 on St. Patrick's Day. They started wearing green jerseys in 2004, when they hosted the Cleveland Indians at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, FL. Majestic Athletic designed the green jerseys, which have become a popular St. Patrick's Day tradition for fans of Boston, well known for its strong Irish heritage.
The Detroit Tigers, hailing from another city steeped in Irish tradition, had the team bat boy dress as a leprechaun in its 2012 game. And the Philadelphia Phillies team mascot, the Philly Phanatic, has dressed up like a leprechaun and danced the Irish jig for the fans in Clearwater, FL. Some teams auction off their players' green uniforms and donate the proceeds to charity. The Boston Red Sox auctioned some of the players' jerseys after this year's game and donated the proceeds to the Red Sox Foundation.
Over the years, these uniforms have brought in plenty of green – the holiday has become a golden merchandising opportunity for fans to snap-up an array of team spirit wear. There was an assortment of green Reds' products to support St. Patrick's Day, when the Reds took on the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Field in Arizona, said Reds' vice president of event services and merchandising, Lauren Werner. "We had headwear, T-shirts and the Reds' St. Patrick's Day authentic batting practice jerseys – just like what the players wore on the field – available for sale," she said.
The Red Sox had green jerseys and hats for sale at their spring training facility in Fort Myers and in stores. "Green St. Paddy's Day items always sell," said a spokesman. Dick Wagner's St. Patrick's Day surprise has spread beyond baseball, spilling over into the NBA and NHL.
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Last September, Zappos, the online clothes and accessories retailer known for its top-notch customer service and energetic company culture, moved its headquarters to Las Vegas. The transfer to glitzy Vegas was two years in the making, and it was the perfect step to indicate its relevance in a big way.
To celebrate, Zappos held a ribbon-cutting event at their new location, the refurbished former city hall in downtown Las Vegas. CEO Tony Hsieh and Mayor Carolyn Goodman spoke to the packed audience of 1,600, many of whom were Zappos employees taking a look at their new offices for the first time.
To make a splash at the grand opening, Zappos enlisted the expertise of their distributor partner for creative ideas to promote the brand. "This was a historic move, and a very big deal for both Zappos and the city," said the account manager. "Because of the importance of the occasion, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was definitely in order."
Zappos worked with their distributor to design a branded ceremonial ribbon that wound its way through the building's plaza and up several balcony levels. They also distributed 1,600 logoed scissors, one for each attendee. "Zappos has an incredible company culture," said the account manager, "so they wanted each and every employee to share that special moment of cutting the ribbon all together."
Have a company milestone, anniversary or other special ceremony on the horizon? Be sure to contact your ad specialty distributor for one-of-a-kind ideas and branded products to make the occasion especially memorable.
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With warm weather comes outdoor sports and activities. Baseball and softball seasons are in full force, as are spring soccer leagues and lacrosse. Plus, it's not too early to talk to your distributor about new uniforms and branded gear for fall sports.
Pitch Your Idea The baseball stress ball has an elastic string attached to an adjustable Velcro finger strap that allows you use it like a yo-yo. Use it to pitch your ideas at meetings, trade shows and conventions. Safety tested. Not for children under three or pets. asi/36730
Kick-Up Fun Inflatable 16" kickball with soccer ball design is made of soft polyurethane leather. Also known as a hacky sack ball, bean bag ball or stress ball, it's a great item for company picnics, team building and sales tournaments. asi/45100
Score! Lacrosse fans can feel like they're part of the action with this foam lacrosse helmet in stock graphic designs. Perfect for school teams and booster clubs, create long-lasting impact with this colorful item. asi/88740
We’re #1 Show team spirit with this 13.75" x 9.5" baseball mitt that’s made from high-quality foam and comes in an array of colors. Print on both the finger and the ball and make sure you and your employees are rooting for your favorite team. asi/54886
Champs Zinc baseball medal has satin-brushed finish, and can be engraved or imprinted on the back side. Great for schools, township teams or any sporting event. Jump rings come attached. Other sports designs available. asi/45330
Cool It Baseball cap-shaped Fast Fan is digitally printed in full color on both sides. Made of high-quality paperboard, film lamination and plastic stick for appearance. Get your custom message noticed at fundraisers, sporting events and more. asi/67620
National Make a Difference to Children Month
While children are out of school for the summer, this is the month to engage with them. Companies should commit to three things: 1. Do one special thing for children – consider holding an open house where kids can learn not only about your products and services, but also the professions within the company. 2. Support an organization focused on kids – sponsor sports leagues, dance troupes, scouts, etc. 3. Communicate with elected officials that they should make kids a priority. When engaging all month long, you can provide a variety of logoed products and your distributor can help with all the details.
4 Independence Day
Let your patriotic flag wave high and wide today: Run an awesome red-white-and-blue promotion. Hand out logoed water bottles, caps and American flags with logoed sticks at a parade. Sponsor the local fireworks display and give all attendees fireworks enhancement glasses (ask your distributor), or simply support your local veterans' organizations.
11 Babe Ruth's Pro Baseball Debut, 100th Anniversary
On this day in 1914 George Herman Ruth, The Babe, debuted with the Boston Red Sox as a pitcher. His storied career lasted 22 seasons and he is still synonymous with the game. Baseball-themed promotions are the order of the day, whether at a major or minor league park or with local sports clubs. Logoed bags of peanuts, baseball caps, jerseys and the like can carry your company logo. Call your distributor partner today to find out about even more baseball-related products.
23 "Hot Enough For Ya?" Day
OK, so this is the one time of year where you are permitted to utter the banal phrase, "Is it hot enough for ya?" Have fun with it. Host a water ice or ice cream event at a town center, distributing cold treats for everyone. Hand out logoed misting fans, caps and other items that can carry your company logo. You should make sure to document everything via social media, too.
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Diamond Cosmetics offers fun, fashion-forward, and fully customized promotions. Great for give-aways and GWPs. Over 200 nail and 20 lip gloss shades to choose from. Sell these in advance because everything is made to order AND made in the USA. asi/49640
Nurses Week Deluxe Cookie & Sprite Combo CR326NW Thank those who take tender care with this generous gift of snack-sized brownies and chewy Fairytale Cookies wrapped with a festive Happy Nurses Week gift band. Nurses Week is May 6-12. asi/53518
Du Pont Impressions Inc. produces everything from NoisySticks™, flags and car flags to cheering items for parades, sporting events, political parties and game day. Most items are made from 100% recycled material and can be recycled as well. Now offering the petrol cover flag and promotional hat! asi/51040