Image via jnewberin

Fans may just be gearing up for Fenway’s 100th birthday party this weekend against the Yankees, but for the Red Sox marketing team, Fenway’s centennial anniversary celebration has been long on their minds.

“We’ve been having meetings about the 100th anniversary for the past two years,” says Adam Grossman, senior vice president of marketing and brand development at Boston Red Sox about planning for this week’s festivities. “We asked, ‘What would generate excitement?’”

From engaging fans through social media to bringing back players’ uniforms that are reminiscent of 1912, “the 100th anniversary has forced our entire organization to think outside the box,” explains Grossman. It was decided that a public invitation to visit Fenway, as well as a public thank-you to the fans, in the form of the balloon giveaway on Wednesday and yesterday’s open house , would be “a nice one-two punch” leading up to the games this weekend.

On Wednesday, 100 balloons, each filled with a pair of tickets, were hidden throughout the city and clues to the balloons locations were revealed through the Red Sox Twitter handle. “We purposely didn’t send out too many tweets. We only sent 30 from the Red Sox account about the campaign along with a few random clues. This was part of the strategy,” explains Grossman. “By keeping the clues vague, it added to the allure of the search and kept people interested in the hunt, rather than just surrounding a specific location.”

The campaign helped the Red Sox Twitter account increase their average mentions by 1.5 times and succeeded in doubling their new daily followers. Additionally, #Fenway100Balloons was trending in Boston throughout the day. Over on Facebook, the post promoting the campaign was one of their top five viral posts of all-time.

“People came 30 seconds or a minute late that were sprinting out of work,” Grossman says of the balloon hunt. “We were overwhelmed by the support and the enthusiasm of the fans.”

Yesterday, the Red Sox staged a free Open House, in which fans were granted unprecedented access to the 100-year-old ballpark, including a tour of the Green Monster scoreboard, a glimpse inside the clubhouse, and artifacts like programs, tickets and blueprints that shaped Fenway’s 100-year legacy.

About 54,000 fans came to Fenway yesterday to check out the park. Additionally, the marketing team ran a Twitter promotion, in which they gave away  t-shirts for anyone who followed them on Twitter, handing out over 500 shirts yesterday before they ran out.

“The best part, for us, is that there were tons of kids,” says Grossman of the Open House. “Engaging with the next generation of fans is something we’re really focused on…We’re very mindful of the next 100 years.”