Let’s say you are opening a bar in New York City. It’s a pretty crowded market. Traditional marketing-think would say to be centrally located, well-signed, amazing website, have a strong social media presence, do some advertising to get started… perhaps?
Now, picture this.
You walk into a Hot Dog joint. No, hot dogs do not have any connection to trendy bars, but bear with me. This place serves every kind of hot dog imaginable, but you don’t expect less… this is New York. The tables have gingham red table cloths and every possible hot dog condiment is neatly laid out. You notice an old-fashioned phone booth in the corner. The kind you might see in London, or a Superman movie. Your inner-child gets the best of you and you find yourself in the phone booth, messing around with the rotary dial. Much to your surprise, somebody answers! “Do you have a reservation?”
Chances are, if you were surprised by this message, you don’t. You see, this phone booth is actually a secret entrance to one of the hottest bars in New York! Reservations sell out daily. The place doesn’t even have a sign. The name? Ironically… “Please don’t tell”
The website is an incredibly basic page with contact details and that’s about all. The Facebook page is an unofficial page created by fans, nothing originated from the bar itself. Most of the comments are from people wanting to go and trying to figure out how!! The entire marketing method essentially breaks all the rules… and I’m a huge fan!
This bar thinks outside of the box. They resonate on an emotional level. They have dominated a space that is incredibly difficult to survive ( a bar in New York… could it get any riskier?) – simply by creating an experience that feels exclusive. It’s a secret. Only the cool people know about it (read: you are cool if you know about it). It’s a conversation piece, begging to be talked about, even with it’s contradictory name “Please don’t tell”
Experiential marketing at it’s best!
Vespa also adopted an out-of the box approach. They hired 6 models to ride their Vespas to trendy cafe’s. They didn’t say anything or advertise the visits or promote the Vespas directly at all. But having beautiful people on their Vespas instantly boosted the image of the Vespa. ‘The best form of marketing for the Vespa is seeing people on them.’ Now that the brand has grown, they use the same idea by loaning Vespas to celebrities. This is indirect word-of-mouth marketing – in fact the beautiful or famous people don’t even have to say a word – just being seen on the Vespa is enough.
Dan Sweeney is a Cork-based personal trainer passionate about nutrition. Building his brand is not about him at all… it’s about bringing change. Making nutrition fun and cool. We are currently working with Dan on two initiatives – one is a Master-Chef Style Cookoff for secondary school students, and the second is a Healthy Lunch Box Challenge for primary schools – encouraging children to bring in a healthy lunch every Friday. Lunches are rated on a point system, and the class that brings the highest percentage of healthy lunches wins a fun day out! It’s an experience.
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box and break some rules!