This is the single greatest marketing strategy I’ve ever seen from the Thunder.
Starting on Saturday, the team announced today, the organization will welcome newborn 2011 babies into this world.
Thunder mascot Rumble the Bison will visit some of the newest Oklahomans at 2 p.m. Saturday at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. Rumble will present each family he visits with a Thunder newborn kit that includes newborn hand warmers, bootees, a hat, bib, blanket, certificate and an exclusive Thunder frame.
The Thunder will continue to provide a newborn kit to every baby delivered at Integris for the entire year. In 2010, Integris delivered 2,539 babies, and on average the hospital’s labor and delivery unit welcomes 48 to 50 babies a week. The Thunder estimates it will provide 2,600 kits to newborns this year.
Now think about that.
The Thunder is turning babies into fans from the moment they’re born.
You just know that one of these precious little boys or girls in 2041 is going to be a 30-year-old fan who still has pictures of him or herself in Thunder bootees and bibs as a newborn. No one could ever question little Johnny’s fanhood.
Meanwhile, the babies’ parents fall head over heels in love with the franchise for coming to see their expanding family in the hospital and providing some useful and cool clothing and trinkets. You can bet those parents, especially if they have older children, are going to start following the Thunder. Some will buy merchandise. Some will become regulars down on Reno Ave.
It’s genius. And it’s something we haven’t written or talked much about. But this is what new franchises like the Thunder must do to slowly grow its fan base. One baby at a time, the Thunder is building its community.
Free bibs, bootees and blankets now could mean big bucks later.