Event Marketing: Sampling on the rise

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta. Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media...

Michael Lang is president of Lang & Associates, a Toronto-based international event marketing agency with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Atlanta. Kirsten Armitage is an account executive with Lang & Associates, and co-ordinator for the Event Marketing column. Contributions, ideas, media releases and feedback should be directed to Kirsten at (416) 229-0060 or fax (416) 229-1210.

In today’s cluttered advertising and promotion marketplace, companies are increasingly looking to unique, targeted opportunities to directly reach their consumers.

As a result, sampling programs are being executed more frequently and more creatively.

Sampling is a trial-generating technique typically utilized to support a product launch, restaging, or to create some additional excitement and interest for a particular brand.

Traditionally, sampling takes place at or near the product’s point-of-purchase.

The sample may be an actual product size or a specially-produced size designed to enable consumers to gain appreciation for the product’s benefits.

Usually included with the sample is a next purchase coupon to encourage consumers to buy the product based on this experience.

Sampling provides the opportunity to generate brand awareness and trial in an interactive, fun and memorable way.

Importantly, sampling programs can be both cost-effective and specifically targeted to a clearly defined consumer base.

Sampling has become very popular at events — either offering consumers product before, during or after the activity or as the focal program itself.

Examples of recently executed sampling programs include the following:

With the 1994 golf season under way, Peller Estates, a division of Winona, Ont.-based Andres Wines, is executing a country club sampling program.

Focussing on southern Ontario, Peller Estates is sampling its product at over thirty clubs throughout the summer.

Peller’s approach is to offer its wines at already scheduled club events.

Members are provided a value-added experience, tasting the product at no cost and learning more about Ontario wines.

For more information, contact Steve Sampson at 1-800-668-9463.

In May 1993, Coca-Cola executed a successful Canadian packaging launch of its contour bottle.

In support of this event, 120,000 students in over 100 high schools in the greater Toronto area sampled the 500mL Coca-Cola Classic bottle.

The sampling took place over the launch period.

In addition, the students were asked to complete a questionnaire on beverage consumption habits.

For more information, contact Brad Clemes at (416) 421-2653.

Nintendo’s Super nes nhl Hockey Mall Tour was developed in 1993 to help launch and profile Nintendo’s new hockey game in the eight Canadian nhl cities during the pre-Christmas period.

The tour, which sampled approximately 40,000 people in total, consisted of 15 Super NES interactive units, one large screen monitor, autograph signing sessions with NHL players, radio promotions and a pictorial history of the Stanley Cup provided by Brian McFarlane.

Additionally, Canstar and Upper Deck participated by featuring product displays and prize giveaways.

For more information, contact Ron Bertram at (604) 279-1600.

Sampling opportunity

For the second consecutive year, the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association is offering marketers the opportunity to sample between 50,000-100,000 products at selected college campuses across Canada.

Companies interested in targeting college students can reach these consumers through the distribution of product samples during athletic events.

To reduce clutter, a new product is featured exclusively each month.

For more information, contact Clare Gillespie at (613) 748-5626.