The Saskatchewan Shockers have had trouble coming up with successful promotions. Last year’s “Japanese Night” promotion, featuring a sumo in goal, turned into an embarrassment for the organization. This week saw another problematic promotion: Kazoo Night.
The idea behind the promotion seemed fun and harmless enough: the Shockers planned to distribute kazoos with the team logo on them. Little did the team know how many things could go wrong with this idea.
The first issue arose when the kazoos arrived a couple weeks ago. The Saskatchewan front office tested the instruments, and found that they sounded a little… off. “We heard a lot of different terms to describe the sound,” said Shockers owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz. “Dying duck, goose sitting on a spike, trumpet in a blender. Safe to say, no one liked it.”
The team tried to order a new batch of kazoos, but the manufacturer told them it would take over a month for the new shipment to arrive. Given the time frame, the Shockers announced plans to postpone Kazoo Night until later in the season.
However, this announcement triggered a firestorm of criticism on social media. “My kids made me buy tix 4 this game just 4 the kazoos,” tweeted one angry fan. “Now no kazoos??? Injustice!!!” With a PR disaster on its hands, the Shockers reversed course and went ahead with Kazoo Night as scheduled, on Thursday against Anchorage.
The next problem arose when the game began and the Shockers took the ice. The fans decided to greet their heroes with a kazoo serenade. “As bad as the kazoos sounded individually,” said Doofenshmirtz, “when you had a stadium full of fans blowing them at the same time, it was way worse.” Observers compared it to the 2010 World Cup, when fans blowing on their vuvuzelas made it sound as though the stadium was being attacked by a swarm of bees. “It sounded like a bunch of fire alarms were blaring at once.”
The discordant sound was so unpleasant that the players complained to arena staff. “It’s hard to concentrate on making crisp passes when it sounds like an air raid siren is going off in the arena,” said LW Troy Chamberlain. Public address announcer Tim Conroy pleaded with the fans to stop blowing the kazoos, which only made them blow harder.
Finally, early in the second period Conroy announced that if the fans didn’t stop, the game would be forfeited. The angry customers began throwing their kazoos onto the ice. The game was delayed for 15 minutes while the arena staff cleaned them up and some of the more belligerent fans were ejected.
After that, relative calm prevailed for the rest of the period. However, the fans remained discontented, and started unhappy chants complaining about the crackdown. Sensing another PR fiasco in the making, Doofenshmirtz order the in-game entertainment crew to distribute free hot dogs in hopes of pacifying the crowd.
At first, the fans were delighted by the free food. However, the crew neglected to secure the hot-dog wrappers, and soon the fans found themselves being pelted with unsheathed frankfurters. The decision to fire hot dogs out of tee-shirt cannons proved even more ill-advised.
With hot dogs, buns, wrappers, and assorted shrapnel littering the seating bowl, the fans began chucking the debris at each other and at the entertainment crew. The start of the third period was delayed by another 25 minutes while arena staff waited for the food fight to subside.
Doofenshmirtz apologized for the promotion gone wrong. “Obviously, we didn’t have any idea that things were going to get out of hand like that,” the owner said. Doofenshmirtz promised to order a new batch of properly-functioning kazoos, and any fan who presented a ticket to this game at the team office would receive one.
Shockers coach Myron Beasley laughed the incident off in his postgame press conference. “Only our team could turn a kazoo giveaway into a scene from Animal House,” said Beasley. “God, my job is so strange sometimes.”