Monday, August 24, 2009

Cash for Clunkers? How About Guns for Hummers?

Was watching the local 10pm newscast last night and was brought out of my pre monday work list warmup by a story of how a local Hummer car lot is trying to save their business.

The story is simple. Jim Lynch sells Hummers. Take a hurting economy, rising gas prices, and a very popular green movement in the United States and you have a hat trick for a very bad time for selling said Hummers.

So Jim Lynch begins selling guns too, and not just hand guns, but high powered automatic weapons, the top shelf of the gun collecting world's biggest and baddest toys. Jim Lynch, is beginning to see business getting better.

Take all of your personal thoughts and opinions out of this and put on the marketing glasses. Whoa! Jim Lynch may actually have something here.

What we have here is a great example of the "experience". Jim took the sales demographics of hummer buyers and found that a healthy percentage are sportsman and hunting enthusiasts. He stopped seeing himself as a guy who sells Hummers and started seeing himself as something different, an experience dealer.

Did I mention that Jim has built the countries largest Hummer testing and playground behind the dealership? When you go in for a test drive, you won't be taking it out on the highway, but instead you'll be climbing hills and leaping creek beds in the jungles of middle Missouri. Now, they'll throw a couple of high powered rifles in the mix and you can pull over and do some target shooting with the gun of your dreams.

Alot of Jim's sales staff had a lot of experience with guns and gun sales, so the same staff can be kept and utilized to sell both products. This keeps his staff small, qualified and it allows them to work for commissions on each.

A slumping economy turns out to be a very creative environment. Whether this saves Jim's business or not remains to be seen, but the marketer in me appreciates Jim's vision and resilience.

Favre & Vick Immediately Effect Dorm Rooms Everywhere

With all of the news around some late arrivals in the Eagles & Viking's roster this year with the addition of a an old man that won't quit and a convicted felon, it would be tough for even the smallest of sports fans to not see the impact that these stories made last week throughout the online and traditional media.

In the new state of home video gaming, these real world stories are now able to directly have the same impact on the virtual world on the Madden 2010 EA title that you just picked up from gamestop.

Basically, EA now has the ability to add and take away from a team's roster or stats in real time. Michael Vick & Brett Favre were brought to life on these games and added to their respective new teams immediately after the news had come down where they would be playing this year. Gamers were able to jump online and test out just how this would effect their favorite or most hated team's season.

Though I'm not personally a football fan, it's fascinating when I view it through the PR, branding, and marketing lens. EA was able to quickly grab onto a small bit of the wave of media that was generated from these stories and focus it into their property in Madden 2010. Not only getting press, but bringing a huge upswing in online play.

These stories bring such a tremendous force in such a short period of time that in the past, it has been impossible to have them effect virtual worlds in a timely manner. I'm looking forward to seeing what applications will surface now that these two worlds have gotten a lot more comfy with each other.