If you’ve ever tried to be sarcastic in social media, you probably know that you’re bound to get mixed results. Some will catch your wink and applaud your cleverness, while others will demand to know what the hell is wrong with you, you godless monster.
Minor league baseball’s Montgomery Biscuits found themselves in just such a situation this week as national debate erupted over the team’s upcoming “Millennial Night,” promising selfie stations, participation ribbons and napping areas. On Twitter and Facebook, the team has been roundly criticized for mocking an entire generation and playing to condescending stereotypes.
But one of the managers behind the promotion tells Adweek the idea was always meant to be a sarcastic, self-deprecating riff on the lazy ways millennials are often portrayed.
“Eighty percent of our office are millennials, me included,” says Mike Murphy, vp of corporate and fan engagement for the Biscuits. “We’re just trying to have fun with it, have a good time with the cliches with the way people feel about millennials.”
While the team doesn’t have any immediate plans to post a public apology, Murphy admits the idea didn’t come across quite as obviously satirical as intended.
“We thought this would be fun,” he says. “Something got lost in the sarcasm, possibly.”
Minor league ballparks often get creative with their promotions and try to toe the line between being provocative and being controversial. “Millennial Night” was one of several promotions planned well in advance of the season calendar, and Murphy says it sparked some commentary when the event lineup was first posted earlier this year. But once the social media posts went out this week, it became a national story covered by major news outlets.
While most social media responses mocked or raged against the promotion, some certainly seemed to appreciate the intent:
“It’s something where we’re trying to have fun and be tongue-in-cheek, and that’s the way minor league promotions go for the most part,” Murphy says. “We try to do things that are edgy at times, but we try not to do things that get out of hand.”
He says local reaction, including from the team’s business partners, has largely been positive, and the promotion’s effectiveness will be determined on Millennial Night itself, July 21.
“If it’s an empty crowd, we’ll know not to do that anymore. But I don’t see that happening,” Murphy says. “It’s all in good fun. We’re excited about the buzz it’s gotten, but the true measurement is what happens next Saturday.”