Promo Close-Up - The Monster Mash

Robyn Promotions' Cool, Creative Invitation

Each quarter, the Oklahoma City chapter of the American Marketing Association hosts an after-hours event called the MofO Mashup (MofO: acronym for Marketer of Oklahoma ...). The event typically features free appetizers, drink specials, door prizes and raffle items to benefit a local charity. For October, the event was dubbed the "MofO Monster Mashup." Robyn Promotions (asi/309656) was asked to sponsor the event and offered to send out invitations to the 600-plus members of the different associations.

"We wanted to send something that was not only a 'cool' invitation to the bash, but also showcased our creativity as well as some of our core capabilities: campaign development, sourcing amazing products, warehousing, assembly (or "kitting") and shipping," says Brian Blake, director of marketing for Robyn Promotions.

The sourcing department found corrugated cardboard coffins that were built to be mailed. "We designed a custom die-cut insert with a scary vampire face printed on it that fits perfectly into the box. There are two slots cut into the insert for glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth. We added some candy corn and black crinkle paper to dress it up and sent the coffins via USPS," says Blake. Robyn Promotions spent $3,500 to produce 700 of the coffins.

The primary goal of the project was to raise awareness for the event, which Robyn Promotions certainly achieved. There was a great deal of chatter on Twitter and Facebook when the coffins started arriving. "People were posting pictures, sharing stories of how their kids argued over who got which part of the piece. There were even a couple blog posts about the coffin mailers. We received many e-mails thanking us for the great direct-mail piece and fielded several calls asking if we could do something similar for their company," says Blake.

An expert agrees – the campaign for the MofO Mashup was successful for two main reasons. "First, the unique form and presentation stood out from the clutter. Second, it delivered a relevant message to the recipients," says Harvey Briggs, a marketing consultant who has developed successful campaigns for Chevrolet, Kimberly Clark, Kraft and Pepsi.

According to Briggs, more important for Robyn Promotions was how successful the mailing was in promoting their business. "This happened because they understand that their business, their brand, is all about customization and created a campaign that showcased that," he says. "Rather than just mailing out off-the-shelf logoed items – which any advertising specialty company could have done – they used their creativity to make something both exciting and memorable."

The event was held in early October, but Robyn is still feeling the impact of that campaign. "People approach me at events and tell me how much they liked the coffins. It's been a big win for us," says Blake. "While most of our competitors are sending catalogs and taking orders for swag, we're focusing on positioning ourselves as marketing campaign partners. We don't want to intrude on an agency or marketing department's turf in terms of taking over their creative, but we want promotional products to be part of what they are doing, not an afterthought."

Briggs echoes the importance of employing a marketing strategy that helps a business differentiate itself. "By creating this campaign, they demonstrated the benefit of working with them, not just their capabilities," he says.

For distributors looking to emulate this strategy, Briggs believes that there are great benefits. "You can generate a sense of goodwill within your client and prospect community by donating your services to a shared cause," he says. "And, you get to effectively demonstrate the effectiveness of your company to a highly targeted prospect group."