Objective: To identify an education-related promotional product with child-appeal to carry a message home to parents.
See Bacardi; think Coke. See Intel; think Compaq. See BlueCross BlueShield North Carolina; think North Carolina Farm Bureau. At least that’s the plan. Cross marketing, brand endorsement, joint promotion … co-branding by any other name smells as sweet to brand marketers, offering synergies, smart strategies and opportunities to effectively piggyback your brand on the success and reputation of another.
North Carolina Farm Bureau taps this strategy as an authorized agent of BlueCross BlueShield North Carolina (BCBS), offering the insurer’s products exclusively to its membership, nearly half a million strong. The Bureau provides BCBS insurance products through a select network of 800 Farm Bureau agents, ranking it among the leading property and casualty insurance firms in the state.
And because the Bureau’s co-brand with BCBS is only as good as the number of co-brand impressions it makes, the goal is to maintain a high enough level of impressions so that when North Carolinians think of BCBS, they think also of the Farm Bureau. The Bureau’s marketing team regularly uses promotional products to promote all member services—insurance is but one—so it was only natural to consider promotional products to promote the co-brand as well. And because a key consumer base for the Bureau’s BCBS auto, home, health and life insurance products is parents of school children, the Bureau team sought a fun, education-related promotional product appealing to children to deliver via schools, county and community fairs and other child-friendly venues.
Solution: Durable magnetic character bookmarks with billboard bodies provide perfect promotional form and function.
After reviewing ePromos’ extensive product library of education-related promotional products, the Bureau team found the perfect one for their segment: vinyl character magnetic bookmarks. These sturdy, fun reading companions hold a child’s place between two sheets of white vinyl with a magnet at the bottom. And the large imprint area provides an excellent mini-billboard for co-branding: the Farm Bureau’s bookmarks included both the Farm Bureau and BCBS names. The bookmark is available in many fun foam personalities, including a frog with big googly eyes, a red foam tongue and a wide froggy smile. Other characters include happy apples, penguins, lions, suns, smiley faces, teddy bear, funny faces and clowns.
Result: Bookmarks still much-requested by teachers even two years later, effective in other Farm Bureau campaigns as well.
Since the team placed their order over two years ago, they’ve distributed many thousands of the Bureau and BlueCross BlueShield co-branded magnetic bookmarks at fairs and through schools, using assorted characters to keep the campaign fresh. Even today, school teachers and administrators continue to request the popular bookmarks through local Farm Bureau insurance agents, using the colorful promotional products as door prizes and rewards for good behavior. And, even better, the Bureau team has expanded the campaign as well, using the bookmarks in various ways in several other unrelated promotions.
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