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Lindsay Lohan Models Creative Promotional Products

Marketing Tactics

 Lindsay Lohan Models Promotional Products
Last summer when “it girl” Lindsay Lohan was photographed for People magazine guest deejaying at a club in New York’s Meatpacking District, what was she spotted wearing? Love beads given away as part of The Gap’s “Rock Color Summer of Love Bus Tour.” The idea behind the tour was to bring an unexpected Gap experience to places where a Gap store wouldn’t normally be found, like the beach or the Meatpackaging District.

The A Squared Group, West Hollywood, CA, reconfigured a school bus to create a little boutique with a Partridge Family vibe. To get consumers interested in stopping in to check out the pop-up store as well as to get them thinking of The Gap, plenty of promotional products were given away. During May and June, 80,000 love beads, 15,000 keychains, 10,000 tattoos, 10,000 rubber band bracelets, 10,000 rope bracelets and 10,000 beach balls were handed out to passersby.

“We wanted to pique their interest, start a conversation or spark a memory by handing them something,” says Amy Cotteleer, president of The A Squared Group.The fact that Lohan brought the promotion to a whole other level was just a testament to “picking an item that was integrated into the overall experience,” says Cotteleer. It has to be age specific, time specific and place specific. We didn’t just give away Rubik’s Cubes.”

This is a mistake marketers often make, per experts. While T-shirts and pens are often good options, a better option is one that is integral to the event. Take, for example, what Motorola did during the last season of the National Football League. It set up an event stage at one game per week where a broadcaster talked about the game, the brand and gave away a premium item. There were plenty of items to choose from, but the Motorola struck a chord with its inflatable headsets similar to those that coaches wear on the sidelines.

“During a Monday Night Football game, the camera panned across the crowd, and there on national television is everyone wearing these Motorola headsets. That’s game, set, match,” says Steve Jarvis, executive vice president for GMR Marketing, Chicago, who helped create the events where upwards to 10,000 inflatable headsets were distributed.

“The logoed premium has to be endemic to the event. I’m surprised how often you say, ‘Here’s a T-shirt or hat.’ That doesn’t say anything special about why people are excited about the event, festival or activity,” Jarvis says. “Do you want an ‘insert-logo-here’ premium or something people will walk halfway around a stadium to find? Fans were asking people ‘where’d you get that?’ The question is always ‘how do we become part of the event and provide a premium that has a little shelf life versus something you throw away 20 minutes later?’”

Of course inflatable headsets aren’t for everyone, and often a T-shirt or hat is the perfect complement to a mobile marketing program. However, many will agree that if apparel is elected as the item of choice, use good quality items or you’ll end up leaving a bad taste in the recipient’s mouth. “It’s all about the quality. There are horrible, cheap shirts or nice, soft cotton ones that people will want to wear,” says Josh Taekman, president, Buzztone, New York/Los Angeles, who created shirts to support the debut of the Will Smith film The Pursuit of Happyness.

An attractive design is essential as well. Sure a company wants people to see its brand name or logo on the merchandise, however if it ends up in the trash, no one will see it except for maybe the guy working at the dump. On the other hand, trendy and good-quality merchandise might even find its way into the hands of celebrities like Lohan, providing additional branding opportunities. “Even though consumers are in the habit of taking any free product they can get their hands on, if there’s no usage then there’s no additional brand impression or further connection with the consumer,” says Taekman.

If a shirt, hat or backpack is of the highest quality, if a logo is splashed all over it, “nobody would ever want it,” continues Taekman. “Too many companies spend the bulk of their money creating items that are not desired by the end consumer.”  *ASI Central


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