By “hot air” I don’t mean bluster, bravado or lack of substance, I mean LITERALLY hot air – as in from a heater.Â In one of the more unique marketing strategies I’ve heard of in a while, Kraft, makers of Stove Top stuffing, is installing heaters in bus shelters at 10 locations around the city of Chicago.Â This will be the first time in American history that heat has been usedÂ as part ofÂ bus shelter advertising.
The ads will feature a poster reading “ColdÂ Provided By Winter. Warmth Provided by Us.”Â The New York Times has a rendering of what these bus shelter ads will look like once installed:
In my opinion this is a terrific marketing idea.Â While the cost of installing these 10 ads/heaters will run about $100,000, the value of the media coverage they will get for such an innovative marketing idea will probably be 50 times the cost.Â Not to mention, who likes freezing their ass off waiting for the bus? If my regular bus stop was one of the ten selected, and I got to be warm while waiting for the bus this winter, I’d be damn thankful to Stove Top stuffing. Maybe even thankful enough to buy a few boxes.
Ellen Thompson, a brand manager for Stove Top, comments on the new campaign,Â making the connection between warmth and the Stove Top experience:
Stove Top as a brand has a great equity in the area of warmth…This is an opportunity to expand into a multisensory experience
Indeed. For some lucky commuters in Chicago, Stove Top will no longer just be associated with a mental feeling of warmth, they will actually physically beÂ providingÂ warmthÂ As part of the campaign, Stove Top will also be promoting their new Quick Cups Instant Stuffing by passing out samples at some of these bus shelters on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the next three weeks.
For a list of the ten bus shelters that will be featuring this promotion, click HERE.
Update: As several of my co-workers point out, won’t these heaters make these bus stops a magnet for homeless people? If this was your bus stop, you might appreciate the warmth from the heater, but you might not be happy if your bus shelter was suddenly teeming with the homeless.Â Also, will the homeless population of Chicago become on-the-street, word-of-mouth evangelists for Stove Top stuffing, providers of winter warmth?
Update #2: I’ve got a So Good goodie pack that I will send to any of my Chicago readers who can send me a photo of one of these bus shelters.