Last weekend NPR hosted their first ever warehouse sale where public media fans lined up to buy NPR swag and meet their favorite personalities. It was deemed a big success as lines formed outside its Washington D.C. building. They sold everything from your basic t-shirts, coffee mugs, window clings, and beer koozies to bizarre items like Carl Kasell plush dolls and pillows. They incorporated social media into the event by using the hashtag #NPRswag to tag pictures of you and your NPR merchandise. Check out NPR’s blog to see a slideshow of fans and their merchandise.
NPR has a strong supporter base and this event gave their tribe an opportunity to buy official merchandise and “be part of the smart club” said Sopato, NPR’s director of consumer products. Their target audience is now armed with NPR swag to share their love of public media with their friends, family and the people they pass on the street (as they drive by with an NPR sticker on their window).
Offering their swag to the public for the first time was also a strategic move by NPR to preview their goods before their move to open a full-time company store at their new building. This trend to use fun, unique promotional items to delight customers is something that many companies, like MailChimp and Moosejaw are embracing. Their fans are clamoring to get their promotional merchandise and it in turn builds brand loyalty and brand evangelists.
Have you seen other companies or organizations use unique promotional merchandise successfully? Have you seen a really unique promotional product that people went crazy for? Share your stories in the comments.