Nostalgia Bug Bites Yankelovich Booth

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Market researcher Yankelovich looked to drive home with valuable leads generated by a 1960s Volkswagen minibus and attitude-laden executives at its booth at DMA·05.

The Chapel Hill, NC, firm used the retro gimmick to gain the attention of direct marketers for its maiden appearance at the Direct Marketing Association annual show. Nostalgia was the door opener.

"It's been very inviting to people," Craig Wood, group president of Yankelovich, said at the show in Atlanta. "We've gotten people coming and telling us stories about their first VW bus cross-country road trips with family members."

Those walking past the booth noticed a different theme each day. On the first day, Oct. 16, Yankelovich employees dressed in go-go boots, pink shirts and white pants and shoes, a scene reminiscent of "Laugh-In." It was John Travolta-style disco the next day, with black satin shirts and shoe heels all lit up.

And the third day was Grateful Dead hippie: tie-dyed shirts, braided hair, Champion tennis shoes and some bare feet. Each day came with the appropriate swagger and music germane to the period.

"First, we certainly wanted to stand out and be a little different," Wood said. "Secondly, it plays very much into our theme of the importance of attitudinal data. We've been able to express the power of attitudes through the booth, the booth attire, through all the giveaways in a very consistent and engaging way."

Advent Marketing Results, Nashville, TN, helped devise the booth and theme. The green-and-white VW bus was rented from someone in South Carolina and driven to the Georgia World Congress Center.

"Yankelovich is one of the most powerful BTB brands, but that brand in this market is not as well known," said John Roberson, president of Advent Marketing Results. "So we had to do something. Retro is very in. We used the fact that Yankelovich has been tracking consumer information for 30 years. What we wanted to do was follow up on that.

"But the reason that it's new and contemporary is that we're able to offer you attitudinal information at an addressable level," he said.

Yankelovich piqued the interest of targeted DMA·05 delegates ahead of time by sending them a mail piece and a miniature version of a VW bus without wheels. Recipients of the toy vehicle had to visit the booth to collect the wheels.

"It's a great show for us, the impact of having an attractive display," Yankelovich CEO Mike Hail said. "We advertised in advance. A lot of prospects have come up to us and asked, 'What do you do?'"

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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