A visit to the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport? $10.
The chance to advertise and promote Hilary Druxman's airport location? Priceless.
This semester, Red River College's advertising majors will be putting together individual advertising campaigns for Hilary Druxman’s second Winnipeg jewelry store (the first is in the Exchange District, just a couple of blocks away from the college's downtown campus).
The students' aim is to drive people to that location and - like any ad campaign - increase sales and awareness among members of the primary, secondary, and tertiary target audiences.
Tomorrow morning, I meet the advertising majors at the airport, where we'll meet our client; in a nice bit of overlap, the marketing and store manager of the airport location is Creative Communications grad Christa Mariash.
(Afterward, I'm hoping the students surprise me with a free trip to Europe. A guy can dream, right?)
After our visit, the students have just over a month and a half to put together and present a series of recommendations for implementing an Integrated Marketing Communications campaign strategy with creative (including new media, of course) as its backbone.
Hilary and her team will choose five of her favorite campaigns (in "plansbook" form), and these students will present directly to her at the end of November.
Hilary Druxman is a great client (as a store and a person); I met Hilary (the person, not the store) at last year's Red River College Directions Business Conference, where she spoke about embracing risk, commitment, and adaptability as an entrepreneur.
I attended her presentation thanks to a tip from a longtime (and very picky) friend, who told me that Hilary Druxman is the only store from which she would ever buy jewelry. According to this article, Renee Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, the Desperate Housewives, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger agree.
I wrote about the Business Conference and Hilary opening the airport location shortly thereafter right here.
There will be some challenges inherent in putting together this campaign, which is part of the reason why I like it so much as an assignment:
1. How do you drive Winnipeggers to check out a store at the airport? Will it only happen as part of a trip to pick up or drop off passengers, or can you make the case that "it's worth the trip?" (Thank you, Steinbach and Stan Kubicek).
2. The jewelry in the store is affordable, but there is no price on anything; to find out the price, you need to ask, "How much is this piece?" That's a challenge too. How do you keep people in the store before they flee from the (imagined) prices and perceived embarrassment at not being able to afford them?
3. The store is located right next to Winnipeg's only Harvey's/Swiss Chalet location; without insulting Harvey's clientele, let's just say that they're "different" from Hilary's.
4. The advertising has to be clean, professional, and suit the brand. It may be harder to sell "upscale" than anything else, because there's a fine line between self-actualization and snooty.
5. When business people from other places travel, they pick up gifts for people back home because they feel bad that they've been gone so long (which explains my entire collection of G.I. Joes). How do we tell people - coming and going on airplanes - that this store exists?
6. How does new media tie in with all of this?
7. Marketing wise, what is possible - and not possible - to do at the airport? Encasing jewels in liquid and gels is, I presume, not a great idea.
I look forward to seeing what the ad majors come up with! I'll be posting some of the - ahem - gems right here.
*Photo update from this morning's visit: