So the day started off nice, lots of work on my slate, calls to make, content to put together for my upcoming product launch. Everything is moving nicely and I’m checking items off.
As I jot down some things that I want to get done today, I find out about this Celtics/Dunkin Donuts event at my local Dunkin Donuts with Ray Allen.
I decide to take the show on the road and get some work done in a different environment.
So, I arrive at Dunkin Donuts and I’m hanging out working on some things on my laptop and writing doing things in my notebook.
I’m very productive when I have caffeine, so I pick up an Iced Coffee – which also makes me eligible to be selected for the event.
Next thing I notice is that they are walking around telling people it’s all going down outside, and that’s where they are going to be selecting people to take part in the challenge to possibly win a chance to compete vs. Ray Allen in a game of knockout (winners would get tickets to the Home opener tomorrow vs Miami Heat.)
A man in front of me calls over one of the people from the event and asks how we can participate. They let him know that there will be 5 rounds of “foul shot contests” and the winners from each of the 5 games will participate with Ray in a showdown with the winners. In order to be selected for this you must be “caught cold” drinking Iced Coffee.
So, at this point, I’m thinking to myself that I’m good to go… in the front of the line, there’s not even 25 people here yet and I’ve got my Iced Coffee. I’ll make sure they see me drinking it to get in.
A good amount of time goes by, there are about 50 people in the line behind me. I’m within the first 5.
Finally, the WAAF announcer goes to the court and reiterates what the person from earlier had said about there being a chance to play vs Ray Allen and that if you are “caught cold” you could be selected to come up and participate in one of the 5 games…
The winners would go on to a showdown with Ray in a game of Knockout, and tickets would be given out to tomorrow nights Celtics vs. Heat home opener game at TD Garden in Boston.
A little bit more time goes by and Lucky the team mascot shows up and they are about to start.
At this point the line has moved up but I’m still right in front of the ropes court side, there’s no way they won’t see me drinking Iced Coffee.
Before I know it the cheerleaders are walking around selecting people to participate in the first game. I see a lot of kids trying to get their attention, so I back off and let the kids have the first shot. Plus, it wouldn’t be cool to be participating vs kids to win something.
2nd round is the same thing, mostly kids, so I pass again.
Finally round 3 comes around and I see some people that look my age who are trying to get the cheerleaders attention, before I know it just by looking in their general direction they are waving me over. Cool, I’m about to get to shoot foul shots and if I win I move on to the 2nd round with Ray!
They take down my information and I’m up 3rd.
The first 2 people only make 1 or 2 foul shots each, out of 5.
I’m up next. Before I give you the outcome, let me tell you that I was a 90% foul shot shooter when I used to play. I used to shoot thousands and thousands of foul shots as a kid and had a dream of one day being in the NBA. Unfortunately, injuries and ankle issues kept me away from those dreams.
So, I walk to the foul line. My nerves are up, I want to win. I brick the first shot, badly… uh oh… Is it the cold? Am I really nervous? Is it my knee surgery? Am I rusty? As I’m thinking all of the above, I find personal motivation from within…. I have tons of opportunity around me, here’s just a little cool chance thing that would be awesome to witness history and see probably one of the biggest games ever… the first time these 2 teams will face each-other with their new rosters. Tickets are pretty much sold out, the only other way to get them would be to spend a truck load of cash on eBay.
I proceed to make the next 4 shots in a row. I get 4 out of 5. The announcer is going crazy, people are cheering. I do a little flex as I walk away from the foul line. Awesome!
As it happens nobody in my group makes more than 2 shots, I’m the winner from my group!
They hand me a few $2 Dunkin Donuts gift cards, take down my information and tell me to stand aside as the other groups come. The showdown with Ray Allen will be later on.
But wait… fast forward to 4pm and I am walking away with my head down, no tickets, and I never got to compete against Ray Allen with the other winners.
So what went wrong?
Well, I wish I knew…
I was talking with one of the other winners from another group and me and him were joking with the other about how we were going to beat each-other. It was “interesting” that most of us were 20s white males, coincidentally.
So, finally Ray Allen shows up at 3pm. I go snap a picture of his car. Nice BMW, almost as nice as my last BMW
People are going CRAZY, screaming, the announcer from WAAF and Lucky the mascot have everyone chanting “RAY ALLEN!”.
So, I move over back to the spot they told us to wait in. This time it’s much harder to get back in over there. People are swarming to get close after they announced that Ray is finally here.
I get sort of back to where I was but there is still a big wall of people. Cops are in place now and they aren’t really letting anyone move around. I’m wearing a special winners shirt so I try to show them that to get back in, no soup.
I grab one of the other guys that won his group of 5 and ask him what’s going on, where are we supposed to be…?
Next thing we know Ray is walking out. We try to get back in, the cops aren’t informed of what’s going on and we can’t really get in.
OK… I guess they are just going to call us in from the audience and people will clear a path for us…
The announcer grabs the mic back and calls up the participants. He starts announcing them… but WAIT, my name doesn’t get called as I try to push my way up there… What’s going on? Who are these other people… they didn’t win Round 1????
Myself and the other guy I’ve been busting about beating him in the game with Ray, go up to one of the people we were talking to earlier about all of this.
“What’s going on, who are these other people!? Why aren’t we up there?”
They act like they can’t hear us (it was loud, but we were practically yelling…)
They say, “These are the people we are using.” and they walk away…
The police officer tells us to back away from the ropes & camera crew over in the corner.
Me and the other guy look at each-other… WHAT?!
We proceed to get pretty irritated and try to get someones attention from the event, but with a loud microphone and fans screaming for Ray… nobody even acknowledges us. We get nowhere fast.
Here’s the kicker.
Remember how I said that it was mostly 20s something white males?
I get a look at the “other group” of people and it’s a fully balanced group of different races, ages and genders! WOW…. HMMM………
Yep, it looks like I was just racially discriminated on because I won a contest with 4 other 20s something white males by the event put on by the Celtics, Dunkin Donuts and WAAF Radio!
What’s the lesson here? What does this have to do with marketing? Am I just ranting?
Well, yes, I am ranting. But there is actually a lesson here.
It shows how the reputation of major brands like Celtics and Dunkin Donuts can get bad press by having shady stuff like this happen. Was it incompetence? Was it the Celtics fault? Not necessarily. Was it Dunkin Donuts fault? Not necessarily. Was it WAAFs/the event organizers fault? Not necessarily.
Maybe it was the organizers, maybe it was internally rigged, it’s hard to say… I’m leaning towards RIGGED at this point.
I hope you guys do the right thing and re-tweet this, re-post and really make people accountable for something like this.
The funny part is, I’m looking at this more like a press piece and a “what NEVER to do to your fans/followers”…….
Don’t rig contests!
Don’t hire incompetent people!
And this type of stuff would never happen and people like me would never be going to the lengths of posting this stuff.
I used to LOVE the Celtics and Dunkin Donuts… now I’m not so sure what they are doing and who they are hiring these days…
Oh, and all of the people that participated in the game with Ray got 2 tickets each.