Tag Archives: campus events

Case Study: Amethyst Jeans 2011 College Campus Tour

This Fall during back-to-school we coordinated an 11 campus tour for Amethyst Jeans. Here are the facts and what we learned.

Goal: Get 11,000 college girls to “Like” the Amethyst Facebook page and give away 600 pairs of jeans at each campus.

Notable Successes:

  • The Amethyst brand had potential reach of 298,000 students at 11 campuses.
  • Amethyst averaged 1,084 Facebook “Likes” from new female college fans.
  • More than 6,000 pairs of jeans were given away free to students who may not have ever considered this denim brand.
  • Countless other giveaways were given to students who met Amethyst along the tour.
  • The brand garnered media buzz during the tour from college and mainstream media.
  • Amethyst benefited from increased brand image by giving away stylish clothing to cash-strapped students who need it!

Learnings:

  • Students were given a scratch card after they “Liked” the FB page. That card indicated if they won jeans or a secondary prize like a tote bag or a t-shirt. Make sure your secondary prizes are quality and worth the long wait in line.
  • Be prepared to address angry students on social media who didn’t win the main prize at your event. Amethyst did a great job of responding to the few students who didn’t win jeans and complained about it on Facebook.
  • Pick schools that have a good location near the main traffic areas of campus (i.e. dorms, Student Union, major lecture halls, etc.). If you have a vehicle, note that not all schools have a good place for you.
  • Have something to entertain the students waiting in line. We didn’t expect the crowds to be at the levels we saw. Some students waited for more than 1 hour to get to the Jean Machine. Having a street team interact with them can help make the time go by faster.
  • The largest state schools were the hardest to book for this tour. The bigger the school, the more red tape and hoops you have to jump through. Consider smaller colleges. They get less attention from brands and are much more welcoming when hosting an event on campus for you.
  • Have a back-up list of places you can stop along the tour. You never know when a school may pull the plug on your event at the last-minute.
  • A small % of people are going to unlike your Facebook page after getting the deal. Sometimes this happens right away, but it could also happen over time. Be sure to keep them engaged after the event to reduce attrition.
  • Schools not part of the tour took noticed and the students were jealous. Have an extension of your event happening online so those not part of the physical event can still participate online and win!

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The pros and cons of pocket promotions

Many college marketers are tasked with getting on campus to interact with students, press the flesh, and hype up their new product or service. Some fall into the trap of overthinking their execution and feel that a full-fledged event is in order. Not so. Well-timed, professionally executed “pocket promotions” can eliminate the need for full-scale campus events and tours. Designing tents, securing permits, and navigating other logistical hurdles can take months and cause you to miss an opportunity to be on campus right away.

Pocket promotions work well when your timing is, well, timely. For example, a timely pocket promotion might be a beverage company handing out free product to a campus that has just won an NCAA championship. Small pocket promotions work even better when the promotion is part of a larger national campaign you are running. A hypothetical example of this might be Taco Bell dovetailing a late-night college bar promotion with the national release of a new menu item. Methods like this work because you are bringing an extension of your campaign into niche markets for direct impact.

Pocket Promotions

Understand that a pocket promotion is a short-lived event (just a few hours) promotion in a highly targeted area (on campus, at a beach, tailgating event, etc.) where, usually, a street team is interacting with a consumer one-on-one about something very specific with a mixture of some custom media. Maybe you are promoting a new movie release, or creating awareness about drunk driving. No matter what your message, it needs to be quick and to the point and offer an opportunity for people to walk away from your conversation understanding what you want them to do while encouraging them to share it with their friends.

Here are some pros and cons to pocket promotions:

Pros

  • Minimal start-up: These types of promotions are nimble and can be created quickly to seize an opportunity.
  • Expeditious: Doesn’t require months of planning or the need to secure permits.
  • Portable: Can be picked up and moved to where your customers are.
  • Economical: Staff models, management, product, and basic metrics are easy on the budget. Some simple guerilla media (wild postings, chalking, projection ads) also give it a fun feel.
  • Scalable: If it works, you can get it up and running in other markets on a dime.
  • PR: If your promotion is creative, ties in a great cause, delivers a cool message, or utilizes unique media, you are bound to get some press.

Cons

  • Backlash: These pocket promotions are typically done ambush style. It may result in being asked to leave a location, fines, or complaints from citizens, depending on what you are doing.
  • No one home: With proper scouting, you should be hitting the right places at a time when your customers are there. You always run the risk that they might not show up when you want them to.
  • Short-lived: Not a good strategy if you need anything sustained. Engaging your customer in a more meaningful dialogue over time and building a relationship is always better than a here-and-gone approach.
  • Inclement weather: Unless you are an umbrella company, rain will probably ruin your pocket promotion. Bad weather (rain, snow, bitter cold, etc.) can be a buzzkill and sometimes rescheduling just won’t work.

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