A Fake Power Outage at a Blues Game Really Got My Attention

Prairie Gleanings

The farm industry could take some notes on Peabody Energy's recent ad campaign. It takes the message to the voting public in a very real manner.

Published on: December 20, 2010
A few months ago, I met a friend at St. Louis’ Scottrade Center for what was my second Blues’ hockey game.

The game was terrific. The Blues scored two goals in the third period to take the match to a shootout, which they also won. Great hockey. However, months later, one part of the evening continues to jump out in my memory. And it had nothing to do with the puck.

After the first period came to an end, the fans sat, waiting for the inter-period entertainment to begin. Typical examples involve some sort of goofy skating contest, shooting a fan on a sled into bowling pins, or, my personal favorite, fans wrestling in fake sumo “fat” suits on the ice. Instead, the unthinkable happened: the lights went out.

Simultaneously, all of the lights in Scottrade dimmed. I was convinced a power outage was the culprit. Then I noticed the lights were still on in the corridors. I looked back toward center ice when I heard a booming voice address us, “St. Louisans …”

As the lights slowly came up, the announcer explained how much of St. Louis’ power is supplied by Peabody Energy. The ad discussed the necessity of coal power. “Without it, we’d all be in the dark.” That sort of thing.

That night, the rink was sold out (that’s 19,150 fans). If that advertisement reached just a fraction of those power-consuming voters, I say it’s money well spent.

At the start of the second period, I couldn’t stop thinking about coal. Furthermore, I began thinking we could be taking this same approach with the farm industry. We’ve heard the facts and figures on family farms, feeding the world, technological efficiencies, etc. So, here’s my idea.

During a Blues, Blackhawks, Rams, Bears, Cubs (if anyone bothered to attend), or Cardinals game, a booming announcer will announce, “Ladies and Gentlemen, all of the concession stands are closed due to a food shortage.” As folks’ hearts begin to flutter, we’ll hit them with, “That’s what you would be hearing if this nation’s farmers decided to ignore their family heritage.”

I’ll bet we could get someone like Max Armstrong to voice it. “That hotdog you’re eating, the cheese cascading off your corn chip, the sweetener in your beverage, chances are they came from a Midwestern farm, with Midwestern values. These folks need your support.”

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