When the Boston Red Sox take the field in Japan tonight -- yep, that'll be 6AM Eastern Standard Time here -- it'll mark the beginning of the 2008 baseball season! With it, we'll also see the return of one of most clever promotional campaigns in recent memory by Jordan's Furniture. Last year's "Monster Deal" meant that when Jon Papelbon whiffed the final batter, 24,000+ happy furniture shoppers received rebates for the purchases they made in the spring, making the Sox victory just that much more sweet.
To be eligible for free sofas and mattresses in this year's promo, you'll need to make a purchase between March 25 and April 27. But this year, they're being "stingier," as the Boston Globe puts it, requiring not only that the Sox repeat their World Series championship performance of 2007, but also that they sweep their World Series opponent in 4 straight games. Now, granted, they did sweep the Cardinals in 2004, and they did sweep the Rockies last year, but this is one tall order for the local nine! No doubt the insurance company that underwrote last year's promotion (at a cost north of $20 million) is behind this rule tightening... Spoil sports!
Last year's promotion generated truckloads of free positive publicity for Jordan's, and it solidified the company's association with the uber-popular Boston Red Sox. It was, in short, a marketing home run. But this year's event will struggle to recapture the magic, not only because the promo seems, well, played, but because the odds are so long. To me, this one looks like it'll die on the warning track.
Meanwhile, the Sox traveling road show is a grand slam by Major League Baseball. The Oakland A's are on record that they feel like the hapless Washington Generals in this battle of baseball globetrotters, and there's now no doubt that Red Sox Nation extends far into the Far East. That Japanese expatriate Daisake Matsuzaka is pitching the opener is that much more of an attraction, so set your alarm, chill your beer (hey, it's after 5PM in Tokyo, remember), and enjoy the game. And if you're feeling lucky, you might shoot your laptop over to Jordan's web site and do a little shopping... It might pay off come October.