5 Thought Starters from #BAEROD

Every now and then a tweet takes our industry by storm. One that we talked about, dissect and use as a case student for months to come. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, then let me introduce you to #BAEROD:


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The @Yankees tweeted this out when Alex Rodriquez hit his 25th grand slam. From a team that has been pretty vanilla in the past, this was quite a surprise to anyone who follows them. It ended up being a pretty polarizing tweet. #BAEROD generated 5,800 retweets, but it also unleashed an array of negative comments. I know haters are always going to hate, but it wasn’t just a few trolls. It was more widespread than that. Take a look through all the comments here.

The tweet also generated great conversation from people in the social media and sports industry with mixed opinions. I do imagine this tweet was a win internally, but it’s not that black and white.

Given all the great conversation the tweet has spurred, I thought there are points for us to mull over. As social media managers, there’s a lot to pushing the envelope with brand voice or content. Here are just some initial “thinking points” from #BAEROD:


1. Pop culture comes with pros and cons.

If you and your team find yourself in a moment to jump on a popular trend or moment, just remember pop culture comes with its pros and its cons in sports. Strong pop culture content (like #BAEROD) often evokes strong emotion- surprise, love,hate— that causes people to share.

On one hand pop culture can help to humanize a brand. The Yankees have been bland on social in this past, so this approach was a breath of fresh air for some. For others, “bae” just doesn’t fit it in with baseball and their team.

It’s important to have conversations with your internal team to make sure you are all on the same page about content and why it makes sense. If you are looking for eyeballs, something like #BAEROD might make sense.


2. Retweets mean a lot of different things.

When you are looking to measure success during a pop culture/polarizing moment, it’s important to remember engagement can mean a lot of different things. People don’t retweet just because they love the content. People also retweet moments like #BAEROD because of shock or anger. You can’t look at things in one dimensionally. You have to dig deeper. In this case, looking at the sentiment of the replies is also important.


3. Remember everything and everyone the brand represents.

When You have to wonder what A-Rod thinks of #BAEROD. Teams want to have a fun brand voice, but the voice is also a reflection of the organization, team and its players. Make sure you showcase the team and players in the right light—one that reflects who they are. I’ll just leave it at this: If someone spots A-Rod wearing a #BAEROD shirt, I’ll be shocked.


4. Don’t push luck.

Even if #BAEROD was an internal win for the Yankees team, they can’t abuse their luck. Based on the comments alone, their audience won’t be receptive to this sort of tone all the time. These moments are best when used strategically and sparingly. Don’t push your luck or you might push fans away.


5.Remember your core audience.

One of the great things about Twitter is that content reaches way beyond your audience when it’s shared. This is important to keep in mind with content like #BAEROD. Polarizing and pop-culture content spreads way beyond your core audience and often to the masses. Just because people are sharing, does not mean it’s your core audience.

If your target audience is male, talking about players in terms of BAE might not resonate. Don’t be fooled by engagement and neglect your core. Look at the demographics and pay attention to sentiment. More eyeballs are great, but not at the sacrifice of your most dedicated and loyal fans.


This post isn’t meant to say the #BAEROD post was right or wrong for the Yankees. Only they truly know their goals and brand. I simply wanted to get all of us thinking about some of the different angles, so hopefully these were thought starters for you!




What did you think of #BAEROD? Love it or hate it? Did it challenge your thinking in any way?

Thanks for reading! 

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