We gave quite a bit of prominence on Thursday to Keith Olbermann’s TV rant about the Twins’ marketing department winning his “World’s Worst” in sports nightly award for a marketing survey question about brand affiliation that compared the Twins to 11 brands of vehicles.
In the interest of fairness, we wanted to hear from the Twins, and President Dave St. Peter was kind enough to chat with us via phone this afternoon about the survey, the criticism and the aftermath.
Here are a St. Peter’s thoughts:
On his reaction to the criticism from Olbermann and others: I’m not one who has historically agreed with everything Mr. Olbermann has had to say, but I’ve actually been a big fan of his dating back to his early days on SportsCenter. And I think his show is brilliantly written.
“My issue was that anything that attacks our marketing group. There are a lot of people within this organization that have nothing to do with the on-field product. They’ve done a tremendous job in terms of positioning our brand over time and connecting with fans. … I didn’t like the fact that Keith and others went after our marketing group. If they want to go after someone, they can go after me. … The assertion — not by Mr. Olbermann, but by others — that we’re tone deaf, I find that humorous because nobody feels the pain of our won-loss record more than the people inside the walls of Target Field, I can assure you that.”
On the intent of the Twins’ marketing surveys: “They provide a road map relative to how we message the tone of the advertising and the opportunity to advertise and sell tickets in 2015 and beyond. The best thing we can do is win a lot of baseball games. But our marketing group isn’t necessarily in control of that. They have a campaign that aims at being successful whether we win or whether wins are harder to come by.
“Our marketing group has done a lot of great work in building a brand, connecting with fans, and a lot of the success we had early on at Target Field was as a result of that group. I would argue they’ve done great work helping us attract 2.2 to 2.3 million fans this year. … I appreciate the concern about the questions. It’s a process that I’m probably not as familiar with as I could be, but I respect the process and at the end of the day it’s one of hundreds of questions that have been asked of fans over the course of the year.”
One more time for posterity, too: here is a link to the survey. Feel free to take it for yourself and see what you think.