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Friday, January 9, 2009

Killer Campaigns: Edibles

Candy is the usual freebie that most of us come across at conferences and book signings. Prepackaged and familiar, it disappears in minutes.

The great thing about candy is that it will draw people in. The bad thing about candy is that it's ephemeral. Once it's eaten, your brand and your message is lost.

So what to do? Can food sell your product and you?

Maybe. Candy is a cheap and easy way to draw the crowds, but also try to think in the long-term.

Let's throw out some ideas.

• Popcorn (unpopped) and with your label on it, will last a little longer in the sense that it has a longer shelf life. People won't necessarily use it right away.

• Cookie mix, prepackaged by you also has staying power. But make it do double duty. Along with the baking instructions, can you write a hundred word flash story, something that will tie it in with the book you're currently pitching? Or a short excerpt, something to tantalize while they're waiting for their cookies to bake.

• Cocoa comes in those nice neat pouches that you can jazz up with your book cover.

• Hide a prize in the wrapper. Next time you give out chocolate, slip a piece of paper inside the wrapper with a special code and instructions to email you so they can claim a prize. The prize can be as humble as a bookmark or as grand as a signed copy of your book.

Message candy. Around Halloween and Valentine's day you'll see lots of candy with various messages on them. You can order these all year long. Try M&Ms or Celebration Candy.

Try not to give away nuts or candy with nuts in it. A lot of people have peanut allergies and you can leave a bad impression if your potential reader has to rush to the hospital for epinephrine.

Foodstuffs should only constitute a small part of your promotional plans. Since they are consumed, they don't have staying power. But make them unique and you can extend that memory long after they've licked the chocolate off their chins.

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Shelley Munro said...

Great ideas. At one conference I picked up a small bottle of tabasco sauce with a promo message on it. That lasted for a while. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, I can believe that. I think I have some promotional tabasco from about 10 years ago. lol!

By the you know it's one of the most requested items on a soldier's list? I always make sure to include at least one bottle when I send out care packages.