August 20, 2014
Last night was the final bobblehead night of the season and brings to a close a very mediocre bobblehead season for the Phillies. As you probably know, all fans in attendance received a Ryan Howard bobblehead. This is Ryan Howard's third bobblehead appearance, and to be quite frank, I hope it's the last.
With this bobblehead, a trend was broken: for the first time in the history of Phillies bobblehead giveaways, the bobblehead was not made by MLB giveaway powerhouse BD&A – it was made by Forever Collectibles. Forever is a leader in retail sports merchandise and holds licenses with all major sports leagues but has only dabbled in the stadium giveaway business over the years.
Starting this season Forever and MLB reached some kind of agreement in which each team had to pick an item from Forever to give away to fans. There have been some good choices throughout league, from bobbleheads to zombie figurines. Not all of the giveaways went off without a hitch. On August 15 the Detriot Tigers gave the first 10,000 fans in attendance a Miguel Cabrera two-time AL MVP award bobblehead. Upon recieving said bobblehead, fans noticed a subtle mistake that was made by Forever. They had used two NL MVP awards instead of AL MVP awards. Minor, but still something that should've been caught along the way. Forever issued an apology for their mistake:
"Forever Collectibles takes full responsibility for this error and we apologize to the fans. We are certainly disappointed this happened."
The fact is, Forever makes thousands of products each year and mistakes are going to happen. It's unfortunate for them that it occurred during one of their giveaways.
Now on to the bobblehead of the hour for the Phillies. I really was not looking forward to it. It's another Ryan Howard bobblehead, which is completely unnecessary at this point. We already had one too many as it is. So from the door I was annoyed, and to make matters worse, it was a generic-looking Forever bobblehead. I really didn't have a chance to look the bobblehead over until I got home and that's when I wavered a bit in my disdain for this bobblehead.
After holding it and looking it over, I kind of like it. I know that's not a popular opinion, as this bobblehead has been hated on by pretty much everyone, but it's actually well-made. The paint job isn't complete crap like 97% of the bobbleheads made by BD&A. I don't see any chips or lumps on random spots like so often happens with BD&A. Overall the quality is a lot better. Now, the likeness is not very good. This looks nothing like Ryan Howard (it actually more closely resembles Jimmy Rollins). If they could somehow get away from the generic head mold and create a mold that looks like the player/manager, and add something to each bobblehead like they did with the Miguel Cabrera, they could really improved the state of bobblehead giveaways. Would it have killed the Phillies to add something to this one to make it a little more interesting? Maybe a ROY trophy, or a decal of the 10th anniversary of Citizens Bank Park logo on the base? Something – anything! Just put a little more effort into the product you're putting out.
The other thing I noticed about this bobblehead was its packaging. The box is a Forever retail box and has a UPC code on it. I'm not sure, but my guess is this was an option that was given to teams that knew they'd have leftovers. I have not heard of nor seen leftover Ryan Howards for sale, but I'm assuming they're coming. I wanted to see if this was the case with the other giveaways made by Forever and distributed this season, and for almost all that wasn't the case. All of the bobbleheads I've seen are in normal giveaway boxes, with no UPC codes. The only other UPC-emblazoned giveaway I found was the DBacks Zombie figurine.
The Phillies giveaway policy with an emphasis on not selling leftover giveaways as stated on their website is:
The Phillies policy is to distribute one giveaway item per eligible fan entering Citizens Bank Park. An eligible fan is a fan that meets advertised age limits or other requirements (i.e. kids 14 and under promotions). Extra tickets for a game may not be redeemed for giveaway items. The Phillies do not make giveaway items available for sale. Giveaway items are not licensed through Major League Baseball Properties, therefore cannot be sold at retail.
The Phillies found a way around the "not licensed by Major League Baseball Properties" issue years ago. They started giving a "free gift" with purchase of a yearbook. The gift is usually whatever leftover giveaways they have. I've seen bobbleheads, figurines, bats, books...pretty much every giveaway is at some point sold with a yearbook. So for $10 you get a yearbook and a previous giveaway and the Phillies in turn get to unload yearbooks and leftover giveaways. But now, with all Forever products being licensed by MLBP and Forever entering the MLB stadium giveaway market, the Phillies may have found a way to unload some of their leftovers for cash without the yearbook. Time will tell if this is the strategy, but you don't put a UPC code on a giveaway for nothing.
It's been a long season for the Phillies in many ways. But in my opinion, their merchandise and promotions department crapped the bed this year. And this last move, if it turns out the way it looks like it will, is just another poor decision made by this organization.
©PhilliesSGA - 2014