SBD/October 29, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

MLB Pulls "Silverado Strong" Chevy In-Game Promo Planned For World Series Game 5

MLB and Chevrolet did not want the Silverado Strong promo to offend anyone
MLB and Chevrolet last night abruptly cancelled a planned placard promotion for the Chevy Silverado intended for Game 5 of the World Series. The league and automaker distributed colored placards throughout the Busch Stadium seating bowl that spelled out “Silverado Strong.” The original plan called for Baseball HOFer Ozzie Smith to lead a raising of the placards at the start of the 3rd inning, to be aired on Fox. But the similarity of the truck’s slogan to “Boston Strong” -- the city's mantra following the Boston Marathon bombings -- prompted MLB and Chevrolet to make a late switch and abort the promotion. “Following today’s rehearsal, we realized there was the possibility that we may offend some of the very fans we were trying to honor. For that reason Chevrolet and MLB decided to cancel the promotion,” the company said in a statement. Chevrolet debuted “Silverado Strong” as a tagline for its ’14 Silverado in July with a specially written song. Last night’s promo had been intended in part to spotlight Chevrolet’s efforts promoting youth baseball participation. The placards themselves included an ad for the Silverado on one side, and on the other read, “You are part of a nationally televised card stunt! Silverado Strong” (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Boston, Mark Shanahan notes MLB deemed the ad to be "in questionable taste," and decided that it was a "weak idea" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29). Also in Boston, Gayle Fee notes Chevy "has been using the slogan in commercials for months." Fee: "But were they totally clueless about how it would be perceived in light of the Boston Strong marathon movement?" (BOSTON HERALD, 10/29).

TWITTER REAX: Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan wrote cancelling the promo was a “very good move from both sides.” The N.Y. Times’ Tyler Kepner wrote it was a “smart move” to cancel the promo. The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham wrote, “Wiser heads prevailed so as not to offend anybody.” Baseball writer Jen Royle wrote, “Can't believe Chevy even thought of ‘Silverado Strong’ signs. Good move pulling them. What professional human thought that was appropriate?” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss wrote, “Props to whomever convinced MLB trained seal act involving fans and auto Rightsholder was in bad taste, causing its abrupt cancellation.” Sports On Earth’s Howard Megdal sarcastically wrote, “Shame on MLB for failing to honor the brave Chevy Silverado, after all it's been through.”
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