I’ve never voted on American Idol. I never call-in on talk radio. I don’t feel the need for my voice to be heard. Why then, did I take time to vote on what should be done with Barry Bonds’ 756 home run ball? I’m not even that big of a baseball fan.
I have what I like to think of as a finely honed sense of fairness. (My wife tends to call it self-righteous indignation.) Whatever. Still, I was taken by Marc Ecko’s purchase of the home run ball for $752,467. He put up a website asking people to vote on what he should do with the ball. There were three options: 1) Send it to Cooperstown. 2) Brand it with an asterisk, and then send it to the Hall of Fame. Or, 3) Launch it into space. In the end, 47% of the people (including me) voted to brand the ball and send it on to Cooperstown. (See all the results here.)
I love it.
Barry Bonds does not love it. He thinks Ecko is “stupid” and “and idiot” for giving away the ball. I beg to differ with Mr. Bonds. Ecko’s site drew more than 10,000,000 cathartic votes in just eight days. He inserted himself (and his brand) in the midst of a pop culture phenomena — indeed, history — and brought some sense of closure to the mess.
I don’t know how you would have ROI’d this marketing move on the front end, but it sure looks pretty damn smart to me.