Recently I spent time in Chicago working with a client. The usual early start gave us a chance to wander up the Magnificent Mile and ‘hit the shops’. One day, I kid you not, there had been a duck invasion.
A giant yellow duck had appeared on the sidewalk and savvy retailers had ducks featured in displays. Slightly bemused, we entered the building we were working in and began our working day. ‘What’s with the ducks?’ Who knew? I love Chicago.
And They Came in Droves
We emerged at lunch time into a sea of people, excited crowds lining the river, cameras and phones held aloft.
“What’s happening?” I asked.
“It’s the duck race, they’re about to be released, look!”
And sure enough, over 50,000 little yellow ducks were poured into the Chicago river cheered on by a crowd of thousands, the world was watching.
The Rubber Ducky Derby is an annual event held to raise funds for the Special Olympics in Illinois, and raise funds it does! You can adopt a duck for $5 to be in with a chance of winning a Chevvy Equinox. I’ll let you do the Math, 57,220 ducks sponsored for $5 each; more than the cost of a Chevvy, and the profile of the special olympics is sky rocketed.
Taking Advantage of A Captive Market
So there we were, crowds of enthusiastic supporters at this tremendous event, all of us feeling good, many of us feeling hungry. My colleague and I strolled along the riverwalk in search of lunch. We joined the first café we found with a manageable queue. It was quite a wait. The management of this café (which shall remain anonymous) had forgotten it was duck derby day, their tables and chairs were stacked at the back of the building, only two staff were working and there was a limited supply of hot dogs, doh! What could most probably have been their busiest trading day of the year, probably fell short.
A Marketing Opportunity
The hot dog I had was awesome. How much more could have been on offer. I would have invented, and massively promoted a ‘Duck Dog’ available that day only, a percentage of the profits to be donated to the Special Olympics. I would have had ‘all hands on deck’ to sell as many as possible on the day, at the very least. I would have handed out flyers to the hungry crowds with an incentive to return in the future. I would have used the Ducky Derby as an opportunity to put my business into the race.
A Chance to Reach A New Audience
In previous work with clients I have aligned marketing activity with relevant local events, taking advantage of the marketing opportunity. Window displays, email marketing, special offers, in-store events, competitions, promotions… anything that would appeal to the target audience, who are all brought together and ‘delivered to the doorstep’ ready and waiting. Check local holidays and relevant events and plan your marketing strategy to include them. Your audience awaits.
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