I was, frankly, a bit surprised that one of these lovely items at the left here wasn't in our mail box this morning. If all went as planned, some 5,300 of these should have been mailed out from Tampa on 12/22 ... of course, with the ho-ho-ho crap in the middle of that (and having them going presort and/or bulk), I guess there's reasons why it's not here yet (but I'd be very surprised if we're not on the "parents" list we bought).
This is a cool promo piece that's based on one that I'd gotten in the mail from a pizza place a few years back. It's a standard 3.5x5" postcard, but with the top two inches being magnet-backed, in this case a handy 2005 calendar to stick on the fridge. We've been having to "reinvent the wheel" to some extent due to the "urban" nature of our territory, since a lot of the stuff that works in the boonies is either impossible here (yard signs), or laughable (our grocery stores don't let you put up tear-off flyers, etc., for example). Plus, since our market is narrowed in on families with kids in a certain set of zip codes, most of the things we initially looked at involved something like 90% "spill" ... which eventually led us to doing a direct mail piece, which made me remeber the pizza promo I'd stuck in my desk, which ended up as this.
Speaking of yard signs ... many franchises say they're one of their best promos. Since where we live there are damn few yards, and those typically have big fences around them, this was out of the question. However, it got me to thinking, and, after doing a bit of research, I figured out that advertising on the Brown Line el train would be pretty much the same thing ... with very low cost-per-impression. Over here on the right is a muchly minaturized version of the ad that's going up mid-January:
These will hit the train cars two weeks before the second term report card pick-up day for the Chicago Public Schools, and remain up for the four weeks following (or longer ... heck, there are signs still up for stuff that happend two years ago). One of the things we learned at that national conference is that the biggest "panic time" over grades is that 2nd term report card, when the parents realize that the 1st term grades were not a fluke and they haven't gotten any better.
I am VERY nervous about this, of course, since we have pretty much everything on the line with this business, and this is our first major "crunch time", and that these two (very expensive) projects had better make the phone ring, along with other stuff that we're doing (like being in the new Yellow Pages ... which provides a remarkable 30-35% of queries system-wide), since from where I'm sitting it looks almost like a "make or break" situation. I've done so many ad/PR/promo campaigns over the years, but none with quite the "Oh, gawd, what if I fail!?" feeling to it. So light up a green candle, cross your fingers, say a prayer, or whatever for us on this!