When you’re a minor-league sports team, getting attention by any means is the name of the game. That’s what the CHL’s Minnesota Freeze were thinking when they started dreaming up promotions for their inaugural season.
“Anything we can do that will get attention, that will get tweeted, that will go viral,” said Freeze GM Kent Rivers. “As long as it’s not illegal, I’m in.”
With that goal in mind, Rivers and his staff took notice when Starbucks launched its short-lived Unicorn Frappuccino. The brightly-colored, flavor-changing drink caused a sensation on social media when it appeared in April. “We thought, why not do something like that?” said Rivers.
With that in mind, the team developed a slushy beverage called the “Freeze Freeze”, or “Freeze Squared.” Like the Unicorn Frappuccino, the Freeze Squared changes colors and flavors as it’s consumed, from the dark blue of Minnesota’s home uniforms to the pale blue of the “Freeze” wordmark. The drink starts out sour and then becomes sweet.
Similar to the Starbucks beverage, the team planned to make the Freeze Squared available for a limited time; in this case, for one home game a month. “Part of what made the Unicorn Frappuccino so exciting was that you could only get it for a few days,” said Rivers. “We wanted to capture that same sense of excitement.”
The Freeze Squared made its debut this week, for Minnesota’s game against Virginia on Saturday. The promotion had the intended effect: the game sold out, and social media flooded with pictures of the drink and fans holding it.
However, once the fans actually began sampling the drinks, the comments were less favorable. Reviews of the taste ranged from “nasty” to “tasted like seal puke” to “this is poison… u trying to poison us???”
Rivers acknowledged that “manufacturing errors” had led to an adverse change in the quality of the drinks. “When we tested the samples, they tasted fine,” said the Minnesota GM. “I don’t know if they had trouble scaling up or if they tweaked the recipe or what, but it definitely wasn’t supposed to taste like that.”
The team has cancelled plans to offer the drink at future games, at least until they can improve the recipe. In the meantime, fans who were unhappy with the drink can submit proof of purchase to the team and will receive a ticket to a future Freeze game and a concession credit.