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Tips & Tactics for using Promo Items

Know Thy Skate Rat and Rapper
Skateboarders are a pretty rough-and-tumble bunch. They’re not afraid of nearly breaking their necks as they “grind a rail” to impress their friends. And often skaters will video one another to capture their feats and/or tremendously painful wipeouts. That’s why Panasonic created its “Share the Air” program to tie in with the five stops of the Dew Action Sports Tour. While the tour is in-market for three days, the 150,000 fans in attendance can hit the sponsor village between venues. This gives Panasonic, Right Guard, Toyota and others the chance to make an impression on the cynical young adult male audience.

“They can definitely be engaged, but the brands have to prove they have a reason to be there,” says Drew Neisser.

Panasonic recognized that photography and videography is a big part of the sport, so it created a DVD explaining the best ways to shoot action sports footage. It hired top talent to capture some breathtaking stunts, which were displayed on 23 high-definition plasma TVs. A Panasonic touch screen TV offered a game that randomly selected prizes for the kids who stopped by to take it all in. Winners took home everything from logoed wristbands to water bottles to Panasonic devices.
“ Free stuff is important. You’ve got to have it. It’s just a part of the program,” says Neisser. “A water bottle lasts. They bring it home. They show it to their friends. It has a life of its own.”

Of course, every unique audience offers a unique opportunity for marketers to connect with consumers with a unique product. For the yearly Camp Jeep event, where Jeep owners drive to rustic locales for a summer weekend, bobbleheads did the trick. As part of the kids’ arts and crafts classes, they painted a Jeep logo embossed bobblehead.

For the Gap Body Bra Bar, which popped up at malls across the country to introduce women to the chain’s lingerie line, flavored water and fortune cookies were the right ingredients. To illustrate the fact that 85% of women wear the wrong-sized bra, fortune cookies included messages like “your cup runneth over.”

The premiums helped ease a potentially awkward situation, says Cotteleer. “Women were coming into an environment to talk about bras. I mean they’re called unmentionables for a reason …The cookie made them laugh. It was an icebreaker.”

Axe Body Spray, which like Panasonic attacks the difficult young-male demographic, signed a tie-in deal with hip-hop star Ludacris. The problem was how to bring him, the brand and his audience together. Since seemingly every hip-hop star has a towel in his or her back pocket to wipe themselves off with, Axe saw an opportunity. At performances, Ludacris would use a black Axe-logoed hand towel and throw it into the audience. “Axe angels” also handed them out to the audience.

Axe also found a way to bring its TV campaign and its mobile tour together in harmony for its Clix fragrance. In its TV ads, pop star Nick Lachey used a clicker, that a doorman or umpire might use to keep track of every time he was checked out by an attractive female. He is stunned to see the average guy who wears Axe Clix had more clicks. The brand gave away logoed clickers on college campuses in support of the effort.

Indeed, there’s no reason why mobile marketing, logoed merchandise and 30-second TV ads “can’t play nice together,” sums up Palumbo. “TV ads aren’t ineffective. They just need another layer. They provide the layer of awareness where people see the brand and know about. The non-traditional components like mobile marketing show how the brands fit in their lives. It can show them why they need a brand, how to use it and why it fits.”

Kenneth Hein is senior editor of Brandweek

*ASI Central


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