March 1998



Low-priced promotion ideas

You don't have to pay through the nose to raise your public profile. Sometimes all it takes is one good idea. In an article in Visual Merchandising and Store Design, Peter Glen offers a list of great - and relatively cheap - ideas retailers of all stripes have parlayed into valuable publicity ploys. They're not all suitable for use in jewelry stores, but his larger point - about creative headline grabbing - is.

Consider the owners of a china shop in Auckland, New Zealand, who put a bull in their store (get it?) and got coverage in their three local papers.

The owners of Petland, a store in Canada's British Columbia, unpacked a shipment of exotic reptiles, draped them over an employee and presto - instant photo op.

Then there is the eight-story Globus department store in Zurich, Switzerland, which was wrapped with a huge red ribbon at holiday time. (Cartier does the same thing on a smaller scale.) It cost just $800, but it turned the store into a real eye-catcher.

Some good-but-cheap ideas do good for others. The Layton Hills Mall in Utah created goodwill by raising money for Operation Smile, which sends surgeons all over the world to correct facial defects in babies. Other properties owned by the same developer, Compass Retail, have taken up the cause.

The best cheap trick of all time, Glen says, took place when Bloomingdale's persuaded Queen Elizabeth to visit the famed department store. It generated a whirl of publicity, naturally, and the queen didn't charge a farthing.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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