Perhaps I've been around the industry for too long but most marketing and promotion efforts are bland. I personally am exhausted of "2 for 1 deals", I can't stand "fat chance sweepstakes" and numbed by "scratch and win" as a futile activity. Then there's Crumpler.
Recently launched in Toronto in October, Crumpler is an 11 year old Melbourne, Australia-based company whose specialty is messenger, computer and increasingly in Canada, camera bags. They were started up by 3 fun guys who were all bike messengers (one of whom was named Stu Crumpler) with an idea that morphed from the mashup of "beer, pizza and bags" and the freshest approach possible to marketing "we do what we like".
To put their Queen West retail location on the map, Crumpler launched a "Beer for Bags" (see supporting spindle wheel above). After conducting similar promotional activity in Australia, followed by New York last year, Crumpler brought its version of maverick marketing to Toronto this past May. The barter concept was simple: "Collect beer, exchange for elegant bagwear".
- A case of Moosehead and 4 Fosters cans got you a Western Lawn bag
- A case of Steam Whistle landed you a small skivvy bag and what turned about to be the most popular
- A case of swingtop Grolsch furnished you with a Complete Seed bag
Inspired stuff. Based on arcane AGCO liquor regulations, Jason Wood, the head of Crumpler Canada suggested the beer had to end up in employee's fridges and presumably very happy livers (not a bad employee benefit plan).
The promotion was supported by the printing of 135,000 wheels that were handed out in-store and within Eye magazine.
Instead of spending a relative fortune on a professional PR plan, Crumpler effectively shortcutted its way to buzz through the magic of barter. Let's see what laws of word of mouth they tapped:
Law #5 -Altruism - the original inspiration for the promotion was a customer in Melbourne who couldn't afford a bag with money and so employees devised a beer barter scheme that allowed the customer to eventually get his bag of choice, creating now a longstanding Aussie tradition
Law # 9 - Reciprocity - borrowing a page from the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" - Crumpler tapped into a very human and primitive motivation of doing something unconventional in return for getting something back
Law #11 - Social Currency - by pushing the bounds of normal business transaction, Crumpler landed itself a tonne of free press, conversation and the flag-bearer of unconventional promotion through Metro, Globe & Mail and broadcast TV
Law #14 - Customization - give people options to participate - by offering 8 different bags for 8 different brands/quantity of beer, the choice of bags and beer created conversations among its prospects and became part of the sub-story (apparently employees liked Steam Whistle the best)
Law #18 - Visibility - not only do the bags have a visible logo that stands out from the corporate issue Targus bags but the spindle wheel (pictured above) provided a unique promotional tool for getting the word out
Law #33 - Likability - from its counter-culture look on life, easy-going Aussie-inspired attitude and fun logo style, you want to like and support these guys, check out one blogger's enthusiasm for Crumpler
Cheers to Crumpler for a bit of relief from rolling up the rim and saving boxtops and a devilish Aussie word of mouth wink away from traditional marketing.