Tag Archives: street teams

Illinois State Lottery works the campus crowd at tailgating events

illinois,lottoThroughout September and October, we’ve been working to promote theIllinois Lottery’s Bags & Bucks scratch off game at a number of different college campuses in Illinois. The idea was to promote the Bags n Bucks card through a series of tailgating events prior to college football games.

We targeted major D1 football teams in Illinois such as, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Western Illinois University. The event displayed a large, branded van that provided the power for the Wii game “Target Toss Pro – Bags” contest that the students could play. There was a physical bags game on site as well, in case the lines for the videogame were too long.  The highest scorer received various Bags & Bucks premiums. Other players would receive smaller Lottery premiums as well. Actual lottery tickets were not handed out, due to the university restrictions, but a series of campus bar events were also executed with live contests to win tickets or other Lottery merchandise.

Because of the complexity of the event and the fact that the Lottery wanted to be present at the on-campus tailgate areas, it was necessary to get permission from the campuses to secure the locations. While there were a couple schools that would not allow the Lottery to be on campus due to policies against gambling, most of the schools did not take issue with it.

We implemented media promotion of the events on each campus with multiple newspaper ads, campus posters, and vinyl sidewalk graphics. Street teams also handed out flyers the day of the event to drive student traffic while The Lottery Twitter page buzzed with event updates.

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Horror Movie Marketing Tactics

Mary Hatchet visits bars on campus.
Mary Hatchet visits bars on campus.

During the month of October, “Blood Night – The Legend of Mary Hatchet” will come alive around college campuses. We have implemented some unusual movie marketing tactics to create a Halloween buzz for the movie and the existing legend, such as blood stain sidewalk stencils, chalking, and poster/flier drops on and off campus, including at dorms and sororities. Models of Mary Hatchet are walking around campuses in character with full makeup during night and day classes to hand out fliers about the movie. The movie promotion will run during the month of October and drive students to www.bloodnightmovie.com

Student comments about Mary Hatchet campus visit:

“I love slasher movies.  I’ll be sure to check it out.”
“Holy-S##t!  You scared the living S##t out of me!”
“What a great stunt!”
“I love the costume!”
“Now that is totally creepy looking.”
“That is awesome.  I need to get a picture of you.”
“That’s really creepy.”
“You are freaking me out.  I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

“I would have never expected to see something like you on campus.”
“Great way to get someone’s attention.”
“The creepiest part is the fact that you aren’t talking.”
“Thanks.  Now I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”
“I saw the ads on campus.  Nice touch.”
“That is some creepy ass s@@t!

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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:


  • 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.


  • 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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