Georgetown director of marketing Chris Grosse was kicking around promotional ideas for the coming fall athletics season and imagined a youth soccer throwback day, with orange slices, Hawaiian Punch juice boxes and an Umbro shorts giveaway. A friend suggested he also give out participation trophies, which sparked an entirely different idea to attract fans to a Georgetown soccer game: Millennial Day.
On Sept. 4, everyone at the Hoyas’ men’s soccer game against UCLA will be greeted with words of praise and 500 lucky, but deserving, fans will take home participation trophies. Georgetown’s mascot, Jack the Bulldog, will be available for selfies before the game, and halftime will feature a stadium-wide nap. Anyone who has held at least three different jobs over the last three years will receive free admission.
“We decided we could come up with something that would be clever and funny, kind of honoring millennials, but also poking fun at some of the stereotypes that I think are incorrect,” said Grosse, who was born in 1982 and identifies as one of the older members of the millennial generation.
Grosse, the only full-time marketing staffer in the Georgetown athletics department, enlisted the help of his student interns to come up with the various components of Millennial Day. The idea was hatched in June, but the Hoyas didn’t have another event to promote until September, which meant weeks of anxious waiting.
“I was thinking, ‘How am I going to hold onto this?’ ” Grosse said. “I was just hoping no one does anything like it. The minor league teams and other colleges are so good at coming up with this stuff, and you’re not going to get a lot of good publicity if you’re the second team to do something.”
Georgetown was first. Since the promotion was announced on Sunday, Millennial Day has received local and national coverage, with Bob Ley dedicating his daily segment to it on ESPN and Jemele Hill discussing it on “SportsCenter.” Grosse has been the Hoyas’ idea man since 2014. He is the brains behind past popular promotions as “Hail to Kale Night”, “Dad Bod Day” and “Cargo Shorts Retirement Party,” and he’s become pretty adept at knowing which ideas will spark conversation and move the needle.
— Chris Grosse (@Chris_Grosse) August 16, 2017
“I always try to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on and what most of the conversation is about,” said Grosse, who shared a video of him and two of his interns reading mean tweets about the Millennial Day promotion. “Sometimes we create our own conversation, like with the cargo shorts thing, and sometimes, like with our kale promotion, people were talking about kale a lot. The word ‘millennial’ kept popping up. … Sometimes I’m a little bit more shocked with the coverage. Like the cargo shorts promotion, they talked about it on the ‘Today’ show, and we had Al Roker saying he would never get rid of his cargo shorts.”
— Georgetown Hoyas (@GeorgetownHoyas) April 19, 2017
Not all of Grosse’s ideas are winners.
“I did a ‘Dumb and Dumber’ day two years ago, and I didn’t research my audience enough,” Grosse said. “Our target audience was students and the students had never watched the movie before, because I’m so old. Sometimes it just doesn’t pick up as much. But we take those chances here. That’s the kind of stuff we have to do to push our sports out to the media.”
Over the summer, Grosse’s department was recognized with several “Best Of” awards by the National Association of College Marketing Administrators. Georgetown’s “Hangover”-inspired Baby Jack T-shirts won silver in the fan giveaway category and the Hoyas’ hilarious “Copy That Scene Cam” won awards for both sponsorship activation and fan engagement.
— Chris Grosse (@Chris_Grosse) March 20, 2017
— Chris Grosse (@Chris_Grosse) December 7, 2016
Grosse and his staff of interns are already deep into the planning process for post-Millennial Day promotions and giveaways. They’re brainstorming everything from new scenes to feature on the “Copy That Scene Cam” to ideas for theme nights, all in an effort to create an enjoyable fan experience and compete for attention in a crowded D.C. sports marketplace.
“I don’t know what I would do if I’m not doing this,” said Grosse, who has worked in sports marketing and promotions since his undergraduate days at Connecticut. “I’ve really enjoyed it.”
It is becoming more and more apparent to me that I will be forever known as the kale/cargo shorts/millennial guy. Dreams do come true.
— Chris Grosse (@Chris_Grosse) August 15, 2017
Here’s the full Millennial Day release:
Head out to Shaw Field on Sept. 4, #MotivationMonday, at noon to watch @GUHoyasMSoccer face @UCLAMSoccer in an epic celebration of #dope millennials. So take a break from scrolling through memes, getting #swole at the gym, and taking snaps of lattes to show your insta followers that you are #involved and #sporty by watching men’s soccer take on UCLA!
At #MillennialDay, you can expect only the most #awesome giveaways (because millennials expect everything to be free) and the most hella cool activities. So that everyone feels welcome at Shaw Field, a #dabbing safe space will be roped off, as well as a halftime naptime break if you ~can’t even~ stay awake for the whole game.
If you’re #thirsty, enter the raffle for a DC area juice gift card. As long as you’re, like, basically on time for the game, you will be greeted with not only words of praise but also a PARTICIPATION TROPHY because all #millennials are #special. And for all your social media needs, our mascot, Jack the Bulldog, will be available to take some #Kardashianworthy pregame selfies that you can take and post for either during the game or for a hype #tbt.
BTW, don’t even worry about #awk social interactions during the game–in the #MillennialCommunicationSection, all verbal conversation will be prohibited. Communication will go directly through your smartphone.
Be sure to check out normal ticket info at WeAreGeorgetown.com–but, since #millennials are #ambitious, tickets will be FREE for attendees who have held at least three jobs in the last three years, and have these jobs listed on their LinkedIn profiles.
For those fast-paced #millennials who are just, like, too busy to attend the whole game, tickets will be available for either the first or second half in order to combat the rampant epidemic of #FOMO. So be sure to head to Shaw Field on for #MillennialDay for a game that fits perfectly into your Google Calendar.