Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Customized Crayons

Coloring Outside the Lines
All four-year-old children love crayons. They also love to see their own name in print (“look mom, it says, ‘David!’”). Why not combine the two? My idea is simple:

Crayola should offer customers the opportunity to give its standard crayon colors unique names and then buy boxes of those specially named crayons. Just think about the look that would appear on little Billy’s face as he opens a box of eight “Billy Blue” crayons for his birthday. Or, maybe little Pauline’s favorite color is purple so her mom buys her a box of “Princess Pauline Purple” right before her first day of pre-school.

Just about every kid in America is required to show up to his or her first day of school with a box of crayons. How cool would your daughter be if she had a standard box of crayons AND a box of Gina Green crayons? If Gina gave a Gina Green crayon to every one of her classmates, she’d be the most popular girl in school.

But the customized color names don’t have to stop at children’s names. Crayons could be named for anything – your pets, your favorite songs, the von Trapp family children – anything is possible. You could buy a whole box of customized crayons with different names printed right on the side of the crayon.

Cash Crayons
I bet that a lot of people would be willing to pay a few bucks more for a box of crayons with a customized color name printed on them. Offering customized crayon colors would boost interest in Crayola’s crayons, and their sales would increase. People young and old would have a renewed interest in crayons. And overall, the world would be a more colorful place. (Yes, I said it.)

Add This to Your To-Do List
Often times, customized products are more fun to buy than their standard versions. How can you introduce customization into your products? What if you offered a menu item in your restaurant named after whoever is ordering it? Or, offer to customize Christmas ornaments in your store by writing the date in calligraphy on the back of the ornament. Apple used to customize its iPods by engraving them on the back, and cheerleaders have been customizing their clothing for years by printing their names or nicknames on the backsides of their sweatpants. Give it a little thought and I’m sure you can think of a way to personalize your products.

There’s never a lack of ideas.

A special thanks to my friend Jen Waters for inspiring this idea by telling me that as a child she was always jealous of her friend Kelly, who had a crayon named after her – “Kelly Green.” Hilarious!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Amazing Digital Billboard – A Lesson on Immediacy

Big-Screen TVs
Digital billboards are the biggest advancement in outdoor advertising since the invention of the traditional billboard. But the advertising industry hasn’t fully realized how to best take advantage of the new technology by harnessing the immediacy of the medium.

The Benefit of Digital Billboards to Marketers – Immediacy
Gone are the days when a billboard goes up for a month with static content and then comes down a month later. Digital billboards offer marketers the opportunity to change up their message daily. Marketers need to embrace the available immediacy of digital billboards. Here are some examples:

  • Jay Leno should advertise each night’s guests via digital billboard. (Lotteries have been using a form of this strategy for a long time now.)

  • Woot.com (where there’s one deal per day) could post its daily deal on a digital billboard.

  • Your local bar/restaurant could advertise it’s daily drink specials on a digital billboard.

  • Old Navy, which always offers a deal on one “item of the week,” could post that item on a digital billboard each week.

The opportunities are seemingly endless with digital billboards.

A Note About Detriments to Digital Billboards

There is a great debate going on throughout our country right now about the hazards that digital billboards pose to drivers. This post does not touch on that debate. I’ll leave that debate to the experts and just talk about the marketing benefits of digital billboards.

Add This To Your To-Do List

Immediacy is very powerful in all forms of advertising – not just digital billboards. Being able to put a current or future date or time on an advertisement causes people to take notice. Look for ways to build immediacy into your marketing efforts – it might be as simple as spicing up your homepage once a week with a special offer. People will begin to take note and will come back to see the next week’s special offer.

There’s never a lack of ideas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How to Advertise Your High School Reunion

Welcome Back, Cotter
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time helping to advertise my upcoming high school reunion. For those of us who went to school before Facebook was around, this can be a challenging thing to do – especially with a graduating senior class of 900 students.
  • Information hub. Create a website with a simple URL so that it can be easily referenced in all of your communications. Include all information about the reunion on that website – it will serve as your information hub. You will only have to update information in one place if you consistently refer your classmates to this website for information. Here’s an example.

  • Share your URL with your school. Share the URL of your website with your high school so that they can post it on their website.

  • School marquis. Ask to have the URL of your website placed on the marquis outside of your school for a week during the summer. Not much else goes on during the summer, anyway, so your school will probably be eager to put up your message. The message can be simply, “Class of 1999 reunion details at www.wvhsreunion.com.”

  • Email. Create an email about the event. There’s no easier way to share information than an email. At the end of each email, ask for the recipients to reply to the message with email addresses of those who didn’t receive the message.

  • Get Personal. There’s no replacement for personal contacts. Reach out to as many of your former classmates as you can and personally invite them to the event. Try to maintain this personal tone in all of your messages. You’re not selling a basket of drinks and appetizers, you’re selling a night of reuniting and reminiscing.

  • Facebook Event. Create a Facebook Event and invite your classmates to join. Facebook Events spread like wildfire to those on Facebook, so it’s worth doing as Facebook keeps growing and growing. The first thing that people want to know about reunions is who else is going, so make sure to allow invitees to RSVP to the event. You can also do this through an e-vite, but my personal opinion is that e-vites are for much less formal events, and anyone who doesn’t receive the original e-vite will think that they were left off on purpose.

  • Newspapers. Contact the local newspapers and let them know about the reunion details. It might be a slow news day and they might publish something about your reunion, especially if you had compelling stories from your class while you were in school. Everyone loves a follow-up story of success.

  • Mail. If possible, mail an invitation. It adds credibility to the event. If you can find enough addresses to do this, it will work extremely well.
Add This To Your To-Do List
These are just a few ideas out of the many that I’ve been using to promote my class reunion. What are your ideas?

There’s never a lack of ideas