RAGBRAI - For those of you not in Iowa, is an annual bike ride across the state. This year was the 35th year of the ride. There were 10,000 riders, several thousand more support people and 477 miles to cover in less than a week. (Did we mention Lance Armstrong was also along for the ride?)
Our office was represented by Georgie who, four weeks earlier, had gone on a much smaller ride of 1,500 people in Illinois. Needless to say, the SIZE of this event was staggering. But there was more...her story:
"All along the 477 mile route people had stands where they were selling everything from sweet corn to water to even pork chops! By day two of the ride I started noticing the "advertising". Sometimes the operators of these stands would just put up a sign next to their booth and let us riders know what they had for sale. Pretty passive.
But, the smart operators started their signs miles before you got to their booth. Like:
- Pork Chooooooooooop - 10 Miles!"
- (Think "Mr. T"): "I pity the fool that don't eat Pastafari - 5 miles!"
That was advertising.
And then there was this water stand...eight miles out the signs started:
- "See Cuddles & Buy Water - 8 Miles"
- "See Cuddles Eat Grass & Buy Water - 5 Miles"
- "See Cuddles Chew While You Enjoy Water - 2 Miles"
- "See Cuddles Poop - Just Ahead"
The signs were the "advertising" and Cuddles was the "marketing". And it worked...dozens of people were buying water and watching Cuddles. While down the road fifty yards at another stand, nobody. We saw this all along the route.
The people that "advertised" did well. The people that also were out "marketing" did better. Yep, advertising works...but when you throw in a little marketing savvy...it's golden!"
Thanks, Georgie. So, the question to you: Are you simply advertising or are you marketing too?
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we think Cuddles made the story...and, yes...Georgie DID get to say "Hi" to Lance...