Oh, Millennials

The Lexington Legends created a bit of a Twitter controversy late last week when the South Atlantic League franchise announced their Millennial Night promotion in a poking fun kind of way that is a tradition in minor league baseball. The event, held Monday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, included free parking, participation ribbons for showing up, nap time, selfie stops and faux-outrage petitions.

Millennial defenders, at least those responding on Twitter, were neither amused nor the saw irony in their outrage. After all, a promotion intended to lightheartedly mock millennials for taking themselves too seriously resulted in them, well, taking themselves a bit too seriously.

Despite the pregame clenching, the promotion went off without incident. The Legends drew 2,931 fans and, thanks to the protesting millennials, received more attention than usual for a Monday night. In fact, the promotion managed to make national headlines. Washington Post contributor Gene Marks, who owns a consulting firm that helps clients with customer relationship management, noted that the promotion “failed a basic marketing test: generating more revenue. Attendance at the game on Monday night . . .  was about average.”

The fact that a Monday night promotion in Lexington made headlines in The Washington Post would indicate that the attention dollars it generated outweigh any supposed lost revenue from upsetting a small portion of millennials. As Brandiose co-founder Jason Klein noted in a previous interview: attention is almost always better than apathy.

“People always ask if it is the worst thing when someone hates what you do. No, the worst thing is if they are apathetic about the work that we create,” said Klein, whose company has worked with nearly half of minor league teams on their identities and promotions. “Whether you are a baseball team or a sports team or a business, or whatever you are working on, your brand is dead [if they are apathetic]. You want people to talk about it. You want to build excitement.”

Fear not, millennials. The old folks step into the spotlight tonight for 90s Night, featuring a guest appearance by Mr. Belding from “Saved by the Bell.” Mock away.

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