Thursday, November 04, 1999

City: NYC, State: Happiness

18th Street was lit up with search lights, two 10' square monitors, several 18-wheelers, 5 or 6 jeep Cherokees and countless cars, all branded with shrink wrap. They even put posters up on street signs promising they "shaved a few minutes off the stoplight so you could get here faster." After revealing my invite to the bouncer I was allowed entry to the brass and red velvet roped party. My sensibility was assaulted, however, when I stepped inside to a loud, brash vast room filled with 90% young men in suits and ties walking around aimlessly not even listening to Jim Belushi and The Sacred Hearts Band belting out blues tunes. The production was extravagant, though.

The theme of this party was definitely oozing manliness, masculinity and GUYS! Networking wasn't an objective of this affair, branding and splash were. The money spent on this national tour and the marketing and branding efforts must've been a dream come true for the director of marketing. Monitors placed around The Altman Building space on Thursday, November 4th showed the website and paper cutouts of the Audi TT 2000 car up for raffle were scattered around the space. Their "Happy Car Buying" campaign takes them to NYC, Washington DC, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.
With a first round of financing of $100 million from Trilogy, Inc. and a strategic relationship with Chase for integrated financing, this company of 150 people (from 3 one and a half years ago) is well on its way of making an impact. They've also donated $100,000 for the bridge's earthquake retrofit project after reevaluating their initial idea of placing an actual banner over the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge and offering to pay for all the tolls for a day. I spoke with pres. and co-founder Brian Stafford (outside where my ears could stop bleeding) as he told me the company launched their site in January and are going national on Tuesday, November 11. Our clear lunch box gift bag contained a T-shirt and a remote-controlled car (I received a green Jeep Cherokee). While the party felt like an attack of the senses, I give kudos to the follow-through and detail in what must be an extensive and costly marketing campaign.