Baseball season is well underway. But before this moment, die-hard fans got in some early team-dating at Spring Training. Spring Training is a magical time of year in the MLB world. Sunshine, no pressure, all love, honeymoon smiles, suntans, beery friendships and mini tailgates of joy. The practice games take place the Cactus (Arizona) or Grapefruit (Florida) zones. Good things happen: a lost little fluffy dog that looks like it wandered out of a Disney studio got found and adopted by the Milwaukee Brewers out in Arizona (they eventually found it a forever home, but the lucky pup made special appearances at select games, and even inspired a weekend event to help other homeless animals).
Bad things happen too: the Cincinnati Reds' fireball closer Aroldis Chapman took a high velocity line drive to the head in Surprise, Arizona (for real), requiring surgery and two months of off-field recovery.
What else goes on as fans picnic in bliss and watch a game that doesn't count in a super-relaxed way? Marketing. Teams like the New York Yankees™ partner up for unexpected gift combos! Suddenly they are handing out freebies like this one: a NY Yankees lightweight beach backpack, stuffed to delight with rice, soup and risotto package goodies from Vigo and Alessi (courtesy Vigo Importing of Tampa, FL). If you're lucky, your nice husband stuffs the whole thing into his carry-ons and brings it home to you, knowing you love to see marketing ploys and fun freebies. Yay, baseball people. Yay, husbands. This one is almost bobblehead good. Now, are we going to find ourselves feeling a little love for the Yankees this year with our Jeter #2 food backpack? Ooh, sneaky. MLB brain power control. Our only question: did this partnership idea happen over beer, guys? Which liquid goes best with a backpack of MLB quick'n'easy foodxotica? Did any guys go home and make it to go with a burger and Opening week game?
What other kinds of promo backpacks can we stuff with something for someone? How about extending gifts like this to non-profit efforts, disaster relief delivery, educational sharing? And tie them strongly into a multichannel experience? How can you freshen up a basic idea?