None, however, are worse than the one offered by Utah Flash owner Brandt Andersen in the wake of a botched marketing ploy that came to a head last night.
It started back in September, when Andersen suggested that Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell settle a long-running war of words with a game of 21 during halftime of one of his team's games. He offered $100,000 to the charity winning party's choice.
After Andersen extended the invited the primaries, he waited. Not hearing from Jordan, he did the only sensible thing: he just assumed that the former Bulls star would be there. After all, Jordan didn't explicitly say that he wouldn't be there.
I know when I ask girls out to dinner and they don't respond to show up at the restaurant anyway. They'll show, I tell myself....
Flash forward to last night, when 7,500 people showed up to see an NBA Development Leauge game expecting to see His Airness -- perhaps fueled by rumors furthered by another brilliantly deceptive move by Andersen. Trying to capitalize on what he calls "viral media," the owner sent a Jordan lookalike out around town.
You know what happened next. Seventy-five hundred unhappy people realized that the 6-foot-1 dude trotting out on the court wasn't Jordan at all. Tempers flared, and many felt misled by the stunt.
Can you blame them?
Here is the word-for-word post:
If you were at the game tonight I hope you had fun. This was done in fun. If you did not see it as fun or you feel we went over the top I am sorry.
Let me step back a little and explain how some of this came about. At the beginning of the season we decided this was going to be a season of fun. The economy has made things tough for a lot of people and we wanted to find ways to have fun, at least for a few hours. On the court we want to win, but off the court we are going to embrace the fact we are a minor league team, and therefore do crazy fun promotion in the hope to get people talking about the team.
Since putting out the challenge to B Russ and MJ and the charity of their choice we have tried to put the pressure on MJ to join us. I even told them if they did not want Michael to play they could promote the potential for another event just by having him here. I knew I would not know if MJ was going to attend until a few hours before game time. I never received the call indicating he would not attend. Which was to be expected with the mighty Air Jordan.
In every interview I said if Jordan did not show we would have a backup that would be entertaining. I promised it would be worth attending. So as a backup, we hired a Michael Jordan lookalike. It was always in the plan to put him out in the community whether or not MJ showed. We wanted to test the strength and effectiveness of viral media by putting him out in Provo with bodyguards, and some hype. I always assumed it would be uncovered very quickly that it was a hoax. In reality, the lookalike is only 6'1 so it was not hard to disprove.
If you were offended by the stunt I sincerely apologize. Good or bad I hope it got you talking. I hope you were entertained. If not the comments section is below, feel free to blast away.
Again, if you were offended please accept my apologies. Like you I was let down. I wanted MJ to show up. I had substantial hope that he would. As an apology we will honor those tickets from tonight for any other Flash game during the season. If you threw your ticket away call the office and we will take care of you. I'm very sorry we disappointed you.
Now, judging from the comments on his post, there are still some very unhappy people in Utah.
Andersen managed to get 7,500 people to his game and avoided having to dole out $100,000 to charity, but at what cost? Is this one of the lamest stunts ever or am I -- and may Utah residents -- overreacting?