Category Archives: Promo Ideas

A Different Type of Search Result

I received a marvelous real-life lesson in engaging an audience this past week and I received it right here in my own backyard. My city, Pierz, Minnesota has an annual festival every year called Oktoberfest. It is a nice little end-of-the-summer touchstone for residents, relatives and tourists, celebrated on the last weekend of August. (Yes. Oktoberfest comes in August in Minnesota).

In addition to a parade, music and an afternoon of fun activities (including a beer garden) on Sunday, there is a week of events leading up to the weekend, one of which is the Oktoberfest Button Hunt.

This insidious little contest is comprised of having one of the Oktoberfest Poobahs hiding a specially marked Oktobefest button somewhere in the City of Pierz. Clues are given to the whereabouts of said button each day throughout the week. The rules are simple; the specially marked button is hidden on public property, no climbing to reach it, not near the river or on the golf course. In other words, don’t be an idiot, be respectful of private property and stay safe.

I am usually very successful at not being drawn into this little drama. Each year, I pay scant attention to the clues issued daily and I give only a cursory look around my neighborhood. The button is usually found by Wednesday or Thursday of the week and life can get back to normal. However, this year was an exception.

This year, my 11 year old son really got involved in the search. I was drawn into the search by doing my best to interpret the clues and giving suggestions as to where the treasure could be found. (Button worth $500.00 in “Pierz Bucks”.) The week wore on and as no one was able to find the button, I began to get further involved. Thursday morning at 6:00 AM found me on the local website (www.mcrecord.com) publishing the fresh clue for the day. I was drawn in.

The local populace was drawn in also. I stopped on my Thursday morning jog at  the local football field at 6:30 AM, convinced that I had figured out the hiding place. I was somewhat crestfallen to find three cars parked in the same spot, I had been beaten to the prize! There were 6 other hunters with the same interpretation of the clues. However, no luck. Friday morning’s clue brought no insights and by Friday night, no prize had been found. The stake were raised, as Saturday was the final day of the search and that morning’s clue would surely reveal the hiding spot.

Saturday morning at 5:55 AM, I was right there, at my computer screen, waiting for the fateful hint. By 6:00:15, I knew the final clue. It had  practically drawn a map to where the button was hidden – it was less than a block away from my house! I hit the front door at a sprint and was looking in the designated location within a minute. Already, there was a person there before me, frantically searching. Within 15 minutes, there were over 50 people raking through the grass, combing through trash and climbing all over the area.

Let me pause to emphasize that fact. Within 15 minutes, there were 50 people searching through an alley at 6:15 AM on a Saturday morning! This in a city with a population of about 1000 people. 50 people searching in the dark, in 40 degree weather, totally energized. Anti-climatically, the button was found within 15 feet of where I was searching.

The marketing message in this example is profound.

This example demonstrated that the right contest can still cut through clutter, busy schedules and the inertia of modern life. The people reached by this little contest reached across all demographics. The lesson to be taken from this example is that the properly constructed promotion can energize and mobilize any audience. The recipe to create a memorable event for your company is; have some fun, be creative and inject some competition into the mix. Want some ideas on how to do that? Give me a call or click here.

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Play cards, catch a crook

Once again, promotional products demonstrate their problem solving power.

Take an ordinary deck of playing cards. Print the details of 52 unsolved crimes on the face of the cards. Distribute these decks of cards to all 515 police departments and sheriff offices within Minnesota, as well as 75 countywide jail and annex facilities. In addition, send over 10,000 decks to Minnesota state prison inmates. Wait for the tips to come in. And they are coming in.

The neat thing about this project is that it puts the information about these cold cases right into the faces of people who are most likely to be able to help catch a crook. Other crooks. This is a good example of targeting the proper market. Except in this example, the customer is not buying, they are selling… information.

This is a great example of a creative use of an everyday, ordinary product. One that we produce millions of every year. However, this is just one example of thousands of products that are used everyday carrying an important message. Maybe the next great idea will carry your message. We will never know until we try. How about we start today?

 

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Temporary Cover – Lasting Effect

Summertime cook-outs, non-profit cook-offs & autumn tailgating are all great opportunities to advertise with an apron. After all, who wants to get sauce all over their party duds? No one! You can do them a big favor by providing the temporary cover they need to look the part of the cook, even if the results leave something to be desired.

Use an apron to tell your customers and prospects that you have them covered – literally.

Here is a bonus spin on this weird idea of the week. This fall, hundreds of grade school students are going to be painting, glueing and creating messes in art classes all over the area. Question: Would your local school appreciate some donated aprons to help keep their students clean? If your business has anything to do with children, art class aprons provide a wonderful opportunity to build brand awareness in an environment that builds credibility and good will.

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