I’ve seen a couple of innovative consumer marketing tactics recently that have caught me by surprise. I don’t know if these are actually new ideas or if I just haven’t done enough Saturday shopping to notice, but these are certainly attention getting ideas:
- Last weekend I went to a popular outlet store mall. It was very crowded, and over half of the people walking around were all carrying the same giant bag. What store would be popular enough to have a 50%+ market reach? It was Citizen’s Bank, which doesn’t have a store at all.
Citizen’s Bank recognized that it was a busy pre-Christmas shopping weekend and that people would be buying lots of things. By giving away high-quality giant green shopping bags, Citizen’s was successful in covering almost every other mobile logo (ie bag) with their own. On top of the obvious value of spreading their logo around the mall, they were also able to saturate the shopping audience. It wasn’t just a bag here or there catching the consumer’s eye. It was a sea of green bags so large it was impossible not to notice.
- Yesterday there was something of a street performance in front of the Adidas store in Harvard Square. The performers consisted of an MC, a beatboxer, a trumpet player, and a didgeridoo player. They actually sounded pretty good. I’ve seen bands perform at record stores to promote their music, but this band was promoting the store itself, lending their hipster cred to the store by showing up in all-Adidas outfits.
Two weeks ago I saw a similar brand appearance in the entryway to an Abercrombie and Fitch store in the mall. Most mall stores have “greeters” during the busy shopping season, but these greeters offered a little more than a smile. In the spirit of Abercrombie’s infamous catalogs, their greeters gave passing shoppers something to gawk at. The female greeter was an attractive young woman in a short skirt, and the male greeter was showing off his sculpted torso by not wearing a shirt at all. Surely Abercrombie and Fitch sells shirts, but the Abercrombie brand is apparently less about the clothes and more about the half-naked people.
I think both of these examples illustrate the ever-increasing trend to build brand image where people shop. In many ways, stores and shopping malls are as important as marketing outposts as they are sales outlets, and in some cases (ie Times Square) the marketing value of a store is perceived to be higher than the sales potential and stores run at a loss.