During a trip in the city this past weekend I was living the dream having contact with the exciting marketing promotions I don’t get a chance to engage in Blacksburg, VA.
It’s normal to see employees of Bloomingdales passing out Bobbi Brown samples with reusable bags in SoHo. At the same time the types of services offered also include hand scrub treatments at Sabon.
The heart of where tourists are constantly present, NYC seems to meet and exceed the expectations of a family from Germany to a mob of Asian tourists even through the rainstorm.
Saturday was a dreary day filled with the build up of clouds and then the down pour lasting throughout the night. This didn’t stop the tourists eager to complete their trip with exciting shopping and sightseeing. Some came prepared with typical North Face jackets complemented with backpacks/daypacks, but others were naïve to think the weather would somehow be ideal.
The sight of Soho and even Union Square was rather eerie during this rainstorm with abandoned umbrellas that couldn’t handle the wind. From solid black ones to what appeared to be a little kid’s Disney umbrella, the city quickly looked like a war zone with many umbrella casualties.
Looking at this typical effect of the weather from a marketer’s point of view I began to notice how much an uncontrollable element such as the weather could affect consumers and their behavior.
First, Once the clouds started coming, H&M had moved up their umbrella displays near the front entrance and along their cash register lines. (smart move) Stepping out of H&M there was the typical sight of street goods. Today’s special assortment being umbrellas, at each corner I witnessed African American men with carts full of cheaply made umbrellas.
As the rain kept coming the umbrella casualties began to build up. It was really amusing to see the umbrellas flip over because of the wind like scenes in a war movie. (luckily my sister had invested in a pretty hefty umbrella with wind protection). We both found ourselves laughing at the number of pointy wires sticking out of trash bins and literally hearing people throw their umbrellas with frustration. Ironically these umbrellas were probably purchased at the outdoor stands for a “bargain” price.
While staying dry under our umbrella along with my handy dandy rain coat, I imagined how awful this would have been if the umbrella company making these abandoned umbrellas had their logo branded all over their product. It would literally be a brand nightmare.
On the flip side of things how clever would it be if an umbrella company passed out ponchos with their logo on it out at the corner of populated streets with their brand printed all over them? I could visualize people on the streets with lets say red ponchos with a recognizable logo all over Soho in the rain. Couldn’t this be a great promotion of rain-proof products? I even considered if passing out umbrellas would be a great idea but the thought of seeing a billion red umbrella casualties stashed on the streets could result in terrible word of mouth.
Not only would the ponchos be an easy & quick way of promotion but a fun and whimsical method of connecting with consumers. It would be quite funny to watch a whole family wearing matching ponchos around the city with a map in hand, still conquering their city experience. Each corner post could have brand representatives wearing the ponchos under a huge sturdy umbrella with the logo on it as well.
This is the sight I wish I saw. Pops of color on each street conveying a positive brand image and turning the dreary weather upside down with a simple poncho pass out. I don’t know about you but if I saw a company do this, I’d give them more street cred than the make up artists handing out overdone eco friendly bags with print promotional info inside.
Anna “I love visiting the concrete jungle but wish abandoned umbrellas were extinct” Bina