Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Black Friday: Chase pursues a (very) direct marketing plan



You can spend millions of dollars on an advertising campaign if you have something to sell. Alternately, you can try some cheaper experiments and hope that downmarket charm trumps slickness.

Somebody liked the latter idea at the Chase bank branch on Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan, as this picture, taken by one of our editors, Leslie Gevirtz, shows.

We can’t decide if this is a Black Friday coup of marketing genius or if one of the tellers was forced to use only materials in the branch’s broom closet. After all, this is the heart of Times Square, a place where every square millimeter is available for your ad, and at very high prices. Major corporations rarely spare expenses — or electricity — in presenting their best advertising campaigns in the heart of the U.S. financial capital. On the other hand, Chase *is* handing out $100 to everyone who starts an account. Maybe that’s the ad budget, already spent.

From Charmin, $10,000 to meet people in Times Square toilets


Want to earn $10,000 working in Times Square this holiday season?  No, no.  Not that way! Rudy BATHROOM NEW YORKGiuliani cleaned all that up.
P&G’s Charmin toilet paper has a different job for you.  The company is looking for five “Charmin Ambassadors” to work in its portable rest rooms in Times Square this holiday season.
The people must be “super-fun” and “enthusiastic.”
The job description: “Greet and entertain bathroom guests.  Then blog about the experience.  All candidates must really, really enjoy going to the bathroom.” 
Except for the blogging part, I think my 15-month-old would be perfect for the job.

(Reuters photo)

A Runway Paved with Gold


Gold bars   Who needs the runway when Goldfinger’s got your back?
   Fashion industry watchers wonder whether more designers will use Times Square’s neon signs as a virtual runway in the future, like Carmen Marc Valvo  did with his spring/summer 2010 show during New York Fashion Week. More to the point, will more designers follow his lead next time by asking the World Gold Council  and the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. – or other financial markets players — to help foot the bill?

A Valvo spokesman says the cost was “about half” that of a runway show in the Bryant Park Tents.  The tab usually starts at $100,000 and can run $250,000 or more, depending on how many models and special effects are involved. This was perhaps the flashiest example of how designers, hit hard by the recession, are seeking more sponsorships to finance their New York shows than in the past. Check out this video of the Times Square show, which ran on the neon signs of Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters and Fox:
  Even with gold trading above $1,000 an ounce, that’s still less than what some of Valvo’s gowns go for at  Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
   The World Gold Council’s Duvall O’Steen said the group paid 10 models and other show expenses — the first time it’s taken such a high-profile role at Fashion Week. Check out this video as O’Steen talks about fashion and gold jewelry:

       In fact, the World Gold Council is getting more requests now for corporate event sponsorships than it can accommodate, O’Steen said. And it’s happening after a year when a drop in world gold mining production curbed its budget for such affairs.
        Bruce Aust, Nasdaq’s executive vice president of the corporate client group, also explains why the made its first foray into fashion:

     Michael Quintanilla, who covers fashion for the San Antonio Express-News and two other Hearst newspapers, told Reuters: “Times Square was the perfect place for a fashion show. With all that neon, it’s very ‘Blade Runner.’ I loved the format. You could drop in when you wanted, have a cocktail, talk to Carmen, see the clothes and leave, without being herded into a space like cattle and being forced to wait.”