Special Events

Event marketing takes products to people

According to the EventView 2006 study from George P. Johnson Co. and MPI, 81 percent of businesses are turning to event marketing to make a meaningful impact on consumers, and a quarter of respondents say event marketing provides the greatest ROI.

Recent event marketing campaigns show how engaging events can be. For example, the campaign created this summer by TBA Global Events not only reflected the client's core values, but its cone values. For the "Random Acts of Cone-ness" campaign, Woodland Hills, Calif.-based TBA helped Ben & Jerry's introduce its new waffle cone with a three-city sampling program. In Chicago, New York and San Francisco, "Cone Samaritans" distributed 50,000 full-size samples per market and generated nationwide media coverage in the bargain.

Ice cream-maker Ben & Jerry's is famed for its socially responsible operations and its lighthearted marketing, two messages TBA keyed on in the campaign. For example, the "Cone Samaritans" not only handed out cones in busy downtown "cone zones" but also distributed the treats at firehouses, police stations and children's hospitals. And while some consumers were lucky enough to be handed a cone, others had to work to win it, either by showing their prowess with Hula Hoops or by riding a branded scooter.

Even such a straightforward campaign brought challenges. The summer's record heat required TBA to maneuver a total of nine 24-foot freezer trucks through congested downtown streets. Also, the campaign included a "Cone-O-Gram" option, which enabled consumers to have a cone delivered to a friend or coworker within city limits. The problem: Many deliveries were slated for high-security office buildings. "Some friendly smiles, quick thinking--and a great deal of cone bribes--went a long way," TBA management says. "Our messengers managed to work their way into even the most secured buildings in New York, Chicago and San Francisco."

See the November issue of Special Events for the full story.

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