800 line targets travellers to U.S.

The challenge facing Toronto-based advertising agency Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly was twofold.First, there was the need to create immediate awareness for its u.s.-based client, Ammex, The American Tax and Duty Free Store, among Canadian travellers to the u.s.However, it was also...

The challenge facing Toronto-based advertising agency Ambrose Carr Linton Kelly was twofold.

First, there was the need to create immediate awareness for its u.s.-based client, Ammex, The American Tax and Duty Free Store, among Canadian travellers to the u.s.

However, it was also imperative that any campaign should not be perceived as an invitation to cross-border shop, but simply a means of informing Canadian consumers who had already planned to visit the u.s. of the wide selection and impressive values available at Ammex stores.

Ammex has 52 locations at Canadian/u.s. automotive border crossings on the u.s. side, from Blaine, Wash., to Calais, Me.

The company had never before advertised on any level in the Canadian marketplace, and the extensive range of products and brands – about 1,500 items – made product-specific advertising cumbersome.

The solution was to reach Canadians who had already planned to travel to the u.s., and invite them to call.

Facilitate access

The objective was to set up a program that would facilitate consumer access to detailed information quickly and efficiently and, at the same time, create a database of Ammex consumers which would be helpful in future planning initiatives.

Toronto-based DMS Market Services managed to create such a program by servicing an in-bound response 1-800 number.

The program has been set up so that each caller may secure whatever information it is he or she requires, either on-line with a DMS Telephone Sales and Service Representative (tsr), or by an alternate toll-free contact.

By means of on-screen ‘pop-ups’ and ‘point-and-shoot’-driven software, dms inbound tsrs are able to provide pricing information on specific brands and items, and also to communicate monthly specials and dealer locations if a traveller leaves Canada at one point and returns via another.

Moreover, Ammex is able to perform an educational role by offering information on duty-free allowances and required length of stay.

The 1-800 toll-free number was featured extensively throughout the entire advertising campaign.

The launch was June 14, with radio as the major component in regional campaigns from b.c. to New Brunswick.

A pool of 30-second spots was used to offer flexibility in focussing on different facets. One spot was devoted to promoting the 1-800 number.

Print launch

The radio initiative was supported by a print launch on June 28, with four-color, four-page inserts in regional publications across Canada.

These include a 10% discount at Ammex Tax and Duty Free stores, and a reminder to call the toll-free number.

Direct response affords multi-media advertisers the opportunity to measure the effectiveness of each ad as closely as possible and on a timely basis.

Thus, ineffective advertising media may be discontinued, while those that are generating good response may be exploited.

To this end, dms provides Ambrose Carr with periodic call activity by media reports as often as is required.

Market awareness and perception may be scrutinized using dms call type reports.

These detail call activity according to the primary purpose of the inquiry (for example, alcohol inquiry or duty-free allowance inquiry.)

The inbound response capability has provided Ammex with the ability to communicate directly with the consumer and build a database to serve the company in the future.

As well, the company has been able to zero in on specific information, identify the media source and geographic source of the call.

Inbound direct response has proven to be a key direct marketing element in the Ammex campaign.

Michael Cravit is an account executive with DMS Market Services, a Toronto-based marketing communications service bureau.