Wednesday, May 7, 2008

July is National Grilling Month

  • Play off of the idea of "being grilled" or "raked over hot coals" and help your clients "stay out of the fire." Use imprinted barbecue items from hot mitts to grilling accessories.
  • Hold grilling cook offs to draw traffic and build customers. Offer grills and accessories like tools and spices as prizes. Grills range from standard grills in all sizes to grills shaped like footballs to beer kegs.

June 14th is World Juggling Day

Everyone is juggling something so recognizing that can be used for a broad spectrum of promotional needs. There are juggling balls, juggle sets and juggle stress relievers.

May 11th is Eat What You Want Day

  • Have salespeople deliver snack baskets to their customers when they visit on this day.
  • Create a promotion based on the Eat What You Want Day making the connection between feeling like you can't eat what you want and you can't seem to get what you want when it comes to (plug in your product or service category). Tell them that on May 11th they can not only eat what they want, but they can have what they want when it comes to (plug in your product or service) by scheduling an appointment with one of your sales reps. When the rep makes the call on May 11 he or she brings a logoed basket of goodies or cookies.

NYSC Gives Grand Central a Spin

Seeing 1,800 people in New York's Grand Central Station at any given time is no big deal. Seeing them all sweating it out on stationary bicycles, however, is quite unusual. But that's what happened between January 18 and 19 during a 24-hour spin-a-thon called "Saints and Spinners." The event was co-sponsored by New York Sports Club (NYSC) and Snapple.

Participants pedaled their stationary bikes to raise money – $250,000 – for Health Corps, an organization dedicated to fighting teen obesity. It also promoted the fact that the health club chain offers a variety of exercise options, including 1,000 spin classes a week.

"What made ‘Saints and Spinners' successful is showcasing the fun and energy of our fitness program in an iconic and high-trafficked area like Grand Central when resolutions are on everyone's mind," says Merrill Richmond, vice president of marketing for NYSC. "It was a sure-fire formula for success."

Each participant received a logoed T-shirt commemorating the event, which helped set not one, but two, Guinness Book of World Record marks. Cadence Cycling team set the record for most miles traveled on a single stationary bike in 24 hours – 829.84 miles. And, the new world distance record of 40.6 miles was set by Holden Comeau, one of its members.

The event was such a success that "Saints and Spinners" will repeat next year in Grand Central Station's Vanderbilt Hall. "There are still some logistical things to be worked out," says a NYSC rep. "If enthusiasm and interest were the only deciders, it would be a done deal."

Pepsi Unleashes Monster of a Promotion

If you were in Times Square in January or at the Super Bowl in February, you very well may have seen a 60-foot monster. The Pepsi Stuff Gift Monster to be exact. The 60-foot inflatable monster helped kick off Pepsi's year-long attack campaign.

This year, the number-two cola giant decided to take its loyalty program out of cold storage and march it out with renewed force. Consumers purchasing specially marked Pepsi products can bank their points at and redeem them for prizes ranging from logoed apparel to electronics to Amazon MP3 downloads.

"The Pepsi Stuff Gift Monster really ties into the overall theme of our promotion," says Bill Wyman, senior marketing manager of brand activation for Pepsi-Cola North America. "As we were thinking about how to show people the scale and size of the program, we kept coming back to ‘this program is really a monster.'"

The Gift Monster announced this new promotion in a big way at the Super Bowl. Accompanying him were Pepsi Stuff crew members who distributed thousands of points to passersby.

Following the Super Bowl, Pepsi ran a television commercial featuring a computer-animated version of the monster made of branded hats, shirts and other items. After making his way through a forest, he stands before a group of teens drinking Pepsi and gracefully places a Pepsi-logoed trucker hat on one guy. "Goodbye Mr. made-up-of-different-stuff-guy," says a young man as he departs. A voiceover says: "Every sip gets you close to clothing, vacations, MP3 downloads from Amazon and more."

Participants at can also enter a daily sweepstakes to win a variety of prizes, including a trip to next year's Super Bowl, Major League Baseball games and the Daytona 500.

A Paul Bunyan-esque Promo

No, they weren't cooking up brontosaurus burgers at Chicago's John Hancock Center on March 7. Rather, it was a giant bratwurst. Johnsonville Sausages set up a 30-foot grill, above which a 250-pound replica bratwurst hung. The publicity stunt was created by Johnsonville Sausages to celebrate daylight saving time (which means an extra hour of sunlight for grilling). Countdown clocks ran off the minutes until the gargantuan fake meat was lowered onto the faux grill, which was suitable for Paul Bunyan.

At noon, the 15-foot brat was lowered. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from the Food Network's 2 Dudes Catering show, along with passersby, chanted "Drop the brat. Drop the brat."

Once the brat hit, a loud sizzling sound could be heard throughout the surrounding blocks of metropolitan Chicago. A tuft of smoke was also released into the air. Apparently, the publicity stunt worked. About 1,100 brats were handed out, along with 25,000 Johnsonville coupons and a slew of T-shirts and other giveaways from radio partners WZZN-FM and ESPN Radio.

A "Daylight Savings Sweepstakes" at Johnsonville's web site supported the effort. Lucky winners, through March 30, received one of 10 Weber grills, logoed barbeque tongs and a host of other prizes.

Apparently the installation looked a little too real to some. "I had to explain so many times during the permitting process that there was no actual grilling to be done on the grill. It's a prop, people," says the national program director for the company that helped create the event. "Chicago is a big grilling town … it's great for sausage and steak." And, it's especially great for giant faux brats.

Underwear Maker Awards Wannabe Designers

Throwing a "Sextravaganza" for college co-eds sounds like something straight out of the movie Animal House rather than from a marketing playbook. Yet, this is precisely what Intimo Inc., a leading manufacturer of underwear and sleepwear, did for students at New York University on March 4.

The strategy behind the promotion was to try to encourage safe sex among NYU students in a fun way. That's why the company developed a contest called "Design Your Own Underwear" as an annual event.

Students were invited to submit safe-sex underwear designs to for review. The designs were judged on who had the most creative designs while still incorporating the message of safe sex. The winner, Deirdre Jenigan, received a check for $250, as well as a year's supply of underwear from Intimo.

Her design showed illustrations of a bee and a safe. "The bee safe logoed underwear was a great item to give away for Intimo," says Jenny Marie Miranda, public relations director for the firm. "Intimo is always trying to look for ways to engage a younger audience. We thought by throwing this ‘Design Your Own Underwear' contest, it would help connect with our younger audience, as well as spread the important message of always practicing safe sex."

Fifty attendees at the event that announced the winner received a free pair of the winning underwear. This included Intimo's iBoxers, which feature a small pocket so the wearer can fit an iPod or MP3 player.