Sunday, July 30, 2006

Best Practices: Marketing & Merchandising

Stamps and sound offer innovative ways to establish connections between brands and consumers.

Special Delivery

Entertainment Rights Pic (ER), a UK-based independent media group that owns children’s and family programming, characters, and brands, secured a promotional agreement with the United States Postal Service (USPS) for marketing and promotional activities for its classic Postman Pat character. Postman Pat makes his first live appearance in the U.S. this month when he attends Washington 2006. the World Philatelic Exhibition being held May 27 to June 3. Occurring only once every decade, the Washington. D.C.- based exhibition aims to expand an interest in stamp collecting globally, and will host special activities for children. Postman Pat aims to teach children the values of community, sharing, and helping others. “The agreement with the USPS is an important step in the plan for a range of activities designed to build Postman Pat into a leading children’s character in the U.S..” says Kathleen Hricik. executive vice president and managing director, U.S.. Canada, and Latin America, Entertainment Rights. As such. Postman Pat will make personal appearances, appear in themed photo opportunities and on-stage performances, and will be part of an educational outreach program. The Postman Pat television series launched on HBO Family in fall 2005. followed by a successful HBO Family’s Postman Pat Marathon Christmas Day 2005. ER has secured a further broadcast agreement for new episodes: HBO Family has The Postman Pa/television series launched on HBO Family in fall 2005. committed to running another Postman Pat Marathon and is running back-to-back episodes May 29. In addition, a Postman Pattherre interactive educational pack will be sent to 5,000 schools in the seven states surrounding the D.C. area, and will be downloadable from the HBO Family Website.

A Sound Strategy

As customer experiences advance into the “multisensory” dimension—from iPods to gaming and online—branding consultants also are expanding their services to include “sonic branding,” a form of marketing that uses sound to develop a unified message. Audio-branding company Audiobrain identifies opportunities for companies to incorporate sound and music in developing the brand experience. “It’s no longer only about visuals and advertising.” says Audrey Arbeeny, partner and executive producer at Audiobrain. “Sound is at the forefront of this movement. From iPods to Startucks and American Idol, smart marketers know the key is to create an emotional connection between the brand and individual.” To incorporate sound. Audiobrain developed its customized “Sonic Toolbox,” which contains severai different music and sound files, which can be used both internally and externally in presentations, brand and sales videos. Web. and retail environments, as well as any other touch point that employees or customers interface with. The first step is to define the brand’s voice, which includes tone, tempo, and instrumentation, among other attributes. Once a core sound is developed, Audiobrain can extend it for different uses. For the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. Audiobrain created a seamless sound experience. It developed the sound signature, full product user interaction sounds, and additional branded soundscapes for both the MTV Reveal Telecast and the Xbox 360 E3 Briefing Event, as well as a Dolby 5.1 surround-sound mix for use in movie theaters and other venues.

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