SBD/May 25, 2011/Franchises

Stealing Gnome: Brewers Promotion Marred By Lawn Ornament-Hoarding Fans

Bernie Brewer lawn ornaments
were placed across Wisconsin
What began as a "fun 'Where's Bernie?' promotion by the Milwaukee Brewers to bring attention to Milwaukee County Parks and the team's Spring Madness ticket sale turned sour early Tuesday when an undetermined number of collectors grabbed more than their share of the suddenly popular Bernie Brewer lawn ornaments and, in some cases, put them up for bid on Craigslist and eBay at inflated prices," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The marketing plan, which was "heavily promoted on Brewers broadcasts in recent weeks, involved planting more than 1,400 Bernie Brewer lawn ornaments" across parts of Wisconsin yesterday. In addition to the 1,000 or so left along lakefront-area parks, "another 400 of the ornaments, with special prizes attached, were placed in parks throughout the five-county Milwaukee area as well as in parks in Madison, Appleton, Green Bay and Kenosha." Under the rules, fans "were told to arrive at 7 a.m. at the parks to pick up an ornament." But the "temptation to come early and grab a bunch apparently proved too irresistible." Brewers VP/Communications Tyler Barnes said that there "were isolated instances of fans helping themselves." He noted that the team "made it clear in the promotion that the ornaments were supposed to be one for each household." Barnes: "Overall, though, we were thrilled with the promotion. I wish we could have gotten some of the gnomes in the hands of those who wanted them. At the end of the day, though, it went well." He said that the ornaments are "for sale in the Brewers retail store for $48" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/25). Several of the statues are "up for sale on eBay, with bids topping $200" (AP, 5/24).
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