US-Style Gimmicks Hit UK DM Fair

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LONDON -- American-style gimmickry was more in evidence than ever at the opening of the British International Direct Marketing Fair here, with automobiles the prime attraction.


Deutsche Post invited visitors to slide into a replica of a racing car like those the German Post is sponsoring in world competition. Visitors could then "drive" the car on a computer screen.


Dun & Bradstreet put a Swatch Smart car at the top of its two-tiered stand so passersby could not miss it. Swatch cars are two-seaters not found in the United States but prevalent in major European cities.


The car will be raffled off to anyone rolling seven 6's in a dice game, with small models given to others.


The hook of the raffle is to pitch D&B's consumer data to those waiting to roll the dice.


"We had a queue lined up here to throw dice, and that gave us a chance to talk to people about our new undertaking," said Jane Hack, who was working at the stand.


D&B has long specialized in business-to-business marketing but has joined EuroDirect, a major consumer database, as a partner.


"They're good at consumer profiling, and that fits well into what we do," Hack said.


An Italian envelope company, Empire-Castiglioni, took a stand for the second year in a row but this time displayed a fiery red Ferrari two-seater sports car.


The sign above the stand said "Italian design is the best in the world" and "Italy's best exports are Empire and Ferrari."


Sales manager Achille Benda said the car drew a lot of people to the stand. Indeed, all the tables were filled.


The company has a Pan-European business with a sales office in Manchester, England, and a wide array of products, including envelopes for Publishers Clearing House UK, Visa and P&O North Sea Ferries.


"We're trying to become a Pan-European company first," Benda said. "Maybe then we'll look to the U.S."


Heathmill Multimedia, a marketing consultancy, had its stand garlanded with bushels of bananas and glasses of banana liqueur.


The pitch here was that marketers, like other people, slip on banana skins, and that Heathmill will "take care of the banana skins while you improve your golf." The stand had a small golf range where visitors could putt.


Those who sank three were entered into a drawing, with the winner getting a golf date for two on any of Britain's 750 golf courses or a crate of champagne. Business was brisk.


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