Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marketing Concept: Parking Ticket

Toward the end of the semester I assign a Self-Marketing project to my college styling students. They create a marketing style, some promotional pieces, a Website layout, and - to make it fun - a unique marketing concept. As an example, I tell them about the license plate frame I had made for my own car for under $20. (See photo at bottom.)

The ideas they come up with are great and while I don't want to exploit their ideas, there's one I just had to write about. It is Sandy Hunter's "faux parking ticket."

Here's her idea. She goes to downtown San Diego and covers an upscale block or two looking for cars parked at expired meters. She feeds the needed coins into the meter and leaves this promotional piece tucked under the windshield wiper. What really impressed me was that she called the San Diego police department to check on the legality of this!

Here's what the "ticket" says:
VIOLATION: Not saving enough on your styling needs
FINE: 50% off your next service
... and her name and business information (Fashion Hunter)

On the back of the "Parking Citation" it reads...
"This is not a parking ticket. However, we happened to be going by your car and noticed that your meter was ready to run out or had already done so. To help you avoid the hassle and expense of paying a fine, we've taken the liberty of puttting a little money in the meter for you. Compliments of Fashion Hunter!" More contact info follows and the name of the Website where the ticket can be redeemed. Brilliant!

This idea almost borders on the outrageous but then it's so nice. Imagine the good feeling that sweeps over someone when they discover that what looked like a ticket is really just a good deed with a 50% offer attached. It works because Sandy is going after individual styling clients, which can be just about anyone with an urban attitude; it wouldn't work for targeted clients such as photographers or art directors.

Other concepts from my class have included a mini-lint roller with the stylist's name attached, imprinted cocktail napkins, and a give-away makeup mirror. Here is my license plate frame which has been on my car for several years.