Ideas to break through advertising clutter

It used to be that getting the word out about your product or service was easy. You had newspapers, magazines, radio and only three networks of television.

Today, however, the options are many. What's more, consumers are literally bombarded by an increasing number of advertisements each day. That means to get your product or service noticed in today's world of TiVo, satellite radio and multi-tasking, you have to be more creative than ever in your marketing.

But a little outside-the-box thinking can go a long way. Take, for example, what CBS did this fall when promoting their new fall lineup. Working with Illinois-based EggFusion, CBS laser-imprinted their logo on eggs in major markets-35 millions eggs total-to generate publicity for the new season of shows using slogans such as "CSI: Crack the Case."

CBS also handed out free books of stamps in New York City this fall with photos of characters from shows such as "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men." CBS took advantage of a service offered by web sites, such as stamps.com, that is totally legal with the U.S. Postal Service.

What CBS is doing-capturing people's attention when they least expect it-is the exact same thing Traverse City's Greenlight Marketing did when they placed stickers on bleacher seats at Centre ICE.

Promoting memberships at Centre ICE's fitness center, the stickers said, "From here, it looks like someone could use a workout." Memorable? Yes. Even better, they were effective.

"The stickers drove a ton of traffic to Centre ICE," said Kevin Gillespie of Greenlight, who came up with the idea with business partner Karl Bastian.

Another example of hitting people in the midst of their, ahem, daily routine is EverywhereUGo-formerly known as Johnny Advertising. Chances are you've seen one of their ads; EverywhereUGo's framed advertisements are found across northern Michigan in over 200 locations, including restrooms, above drinking fountains, in elevators, in pay phones and along hallways-what EverywhereUGo likes to describe as "waiting places."

With this medium, you can target your market by requesting what types of locales and in what geographic location your ads will be placed. You can even target a particular sex.

Another effective way to break through advertising clutter is to entertain your audience. Anyone who attended a Beach Bums game this summer probably remembers Long Lake Animal Hospital's mid-inning promotion, where two kids would don a cat or dog costume and pitter patter around the bases as the crowd watched, practically rolling in the aisles. Putting a new twist on the old marketing adage that kids and puppies sell, Long Lake Animal Hospital was able to make a lasting impression on thousands of Beach Bums fans attending each home game.

During this year's Traverse City Film Festival, CML Marketing Communications complemented their traditional PR efforts with new media forms such as webcasts and podcasts.

In addition to the standard press conference where they announced the Festival's 2006 line up, CML posted a webcast and later a podcast of the press conference on the Film Festival's website, so even if a member of the media couldn't make the press conference, they could go to the web site and see a video or download a podcast.

For CML President Chuck Lombardo, this type of marketing is "the way it's going to be," he says. "We are moving more and more of our public relations efforts to the web and away from traditional sources." BN

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