My family and I went holiday shopping this winter on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. It is a crazy scene but is fun, festive and is neat to see so many shoppers and tourists walking around on a cold December day.
One of the things that I noticed were all the red American Girl shopping bags being carried up and down Michigan Avenue. Since we have two boys, we are not part of the American Girl scene, so my wife had to fill me in. She told me how popular the dolls are with young girls and how the company has an incredibly strong following.
We ventured into the American Girl store for a couple of minutes. It is a high end feel with red carpet and all of the dolls, clothes and accessories are nicely showcased and laid out. The dolls and accessories are really expensive, but that did not seem to dampen the spirit of the shoppers as the store was packed.
At home that night, I thought about two marketing takeaways from my American Girl experience that day.
1. Creating Awareness through their Bags – The bright red American girl bags certainly stood out. This was another good example of how powerful bags are as a promotional product. While they are needed to carry merchandise, they advertise your brand to the public when you leave the store. In addition, everyone carrying the bags is showing that they endorse the brand since they invested in the product. As you can see from the picture, these are not inexpensive bags. They have cords for handles and are a nice paper material. So the company carried the brand forward, not cutting corners with their packaging. These bags are a perfect reminder that promotional products are outstanding products to create awareness.
2. Emotion vs. Practical Marketing – As study after study has proven, marketing on emotion is so much more effective than marketing on practical reasoning. American Girl is a perfect examples of this. The reality is there a lot of dolls out there that are probably just as nice and are a lot less expensive. However American Girl is selling the experience of having an American Girl doll. So this becomes an emotional need and as MasterCard loves to say, that makes them “priceless”. This is a great reminder for anyone who markets a business. It is always more effective to market an emotion than the practical information.
I was impressed with the American Girl experience and wish all marketers in 2013 the success that this company has found.
Michael Wolaver – Magellan Collegiate Promotions