Last year, the Cardinals tried something fairly unique in the realm of baseball promotion. Under the label of #Nestflix, they created their own version of the TV show The Office, inspired in large part because the actresses that played Phyllis and Pam were St. Louis natives and big Cardinal fans. They wrangled Phyllis to play a similar part and played up the rivalry between Fredbird and Rally Squirrel in a front office show that ran about 50 15-second episodes, which is all the time you have on Instagram. It was pretty neat and I know I enjoyed it. The Cardinals “reran” them last week and it was fun to see them again.
Despite those that complain on Instagram that they want real news instead of such promotion*, apparently #Nestflix was a hit. So much so that another production under that banner is underway. This time, instead of showing a front office parody, they are tapping into one of the classic movies of our generation to tie into the new Cardinals Hall of Fame in Ballpark Village.
*Seriously, folks, you want information, follow the Cardinals on Twitter rather than Instagram. The whole purpose of that service is to share pictures and now short videos. If that’s your news source, you’ve got more problems than we can go into right now!
You can watch the trailer for #BirdToTheFuture right here. I’m going to admit something here that might change your opinion of me, but the Back to the Future movies never grabbed hold of me like they did so many of my generation. Sure, I’ve seen them, though I think just once. Maybe because I watched them well after they were in the theater, but they’ve never been a big thing for me. I think I’m still allowed on the Internet after saying that, though if my Twitter account goes quiet, you’ll know I was wrong on that score.
However, even the casual observer knows the beats, knows the references and from the trailer, it looks like the Cardinals are going to do a pretty good job with tying that into their story. Obviously, if you are talking about the Hall of Fame, time travel is the way to go. Who wouldn’t want to go back in time to see Stan Musial or Lou Brock in their prime? If you were going to set up a museum, having a Delorean that can send you back to get the artifacts would make your job a lot easier as well. (Of course, given my tastes, I’d have preferred a TARDIS, especially since John Mozeliak is a Time Lord, but I can acknowledge that parody might have been harder to pull off and not necessarily reach a broad audience like this one should.)
I applaud the Cardinals for doing something unique. So much of baseball’s marketing and promotions are run on a macro level, where the campaigns and such are directed from New York, with minor modifications to personalize it to the teams. This is pure St. Louis, with nothing else out there that can be compared to it at all. Having such a new and fun thing is a–yes, we’ll go there–feather in the cap of this organization.
Is it cheesy? Sure. Is it self-promoting? Yeah, which is what you expect out of a promotions department. Is it a whole lot better than dry commercials and print ads? I surely think so. If nothing else, it should keep people coming back to check out what’s going on. (The first five episodes, by the way, came out yesterday on their Instagram account. John Rooney is getting plenty of extra work these days!)
It’s also some quality work. From what I understand, they’ve gotten an actual Hollywood director to come in and run this thing and I think it shows. Not that last year’s Office-run wasn’t quality, but the first five episodes so far have seemed to have a different feel to them, something more cinematic. Which it should, since last year they were parodying a TV mockumentary and this year a movie. However, it’s easy to do a thing half-way, but so far it doesn’t look like that’s the case with this one.
Plus the great part is it can only encourage talking about Cardinal history, which should be great news for folks like Bob Netherton and Mark Tomasik. Cardinal history is so full of amazing moments, great personalities, wonderful games that the more we get to bring that up, the more we get to reference it, the better it is for the fan base as a whole. Heck, just the title of this thing invoked a not-so-high-light of Cardinal history on Twitter. We can talk about Cardinal history while we hope the team on the field makes some more of it. (If you’d like to talk about Cardinal history, what you would change or where you would go if you could go back in time, we’re talking about it over here at ReplyAll. I love the response of Christine Coleman–just imagine if you could tweak something that made Rick Ankiel stay on the mound!)
Here’s what also tickles me about this project. I’ve been given to understand that one of the characters in the story is a blogger, which is a nice hat tip to what we do here and around the UCB. (Wait, I say that, but I don’t know if the blogger is a good guy or not! Maybe I should wait on drawing that positive conclusion!) I have no idea if the blogger is a big part, a little part, or more an offhand reference, but just the fact that they are acknowledging the community in something like this is a great thing for us, I believe.
I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of folks poking fun at the project, but that’s the nature of the internet. No good thing goes unsnarked and all that, which is fine. I don’t think anyone is taking this so seriously that they are going to be offended by some gentle ribbing. Still, it’s a fun little thing to do and I’m glad that they are continuing to make projects like this. Besides, apparently they had the pull to get this guy knighted, which is definitely a worthy endeavor.
So keep checking Instagram for new episodes over the coming days. It should be a hoot!