Super Bowl Mailer Goes Long For Jacksonville

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The Jacksonville, FL, Chamber of Commerce is using Super Bowl XXXIX as an opportunity to run a direct mail campaign that uses gifts and gadgets to entice new business investment in the community.


One of the highlights of the campaign is a box -- mailed to 200 members of the media before the Super Bowl -- containing a pen equipped with a "pocket hard drive." The hard drive, which can be removed from the pen and inserted into a PC's USB port, carries pictures, video and text promoting Jacksonville.


The 7.5-by-9.5-inch cardboard box uses the Super Bowl logo and the headline, "This pen can't write a story about the Super Bowl for you," with the pen visible in a clear plastic window. The front panel of the box opens, where the headline continues, "But it'll sure give you a lot of ideas." The package also contains a Super Bowl XXXIX notebook.


St. John & Partners, Jacksonville, conducted the campaign for the Jacksonville Cornerstone Regional Development Partnership, the economic development arm of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. It targeted sports and business writers, particularly major business publications whose readership might be interested in moving business to Jacksonville.


Part of the goal of the campaign is to get correct information about the city to journalists, 3,500 of whom converged on Jacksonville for the Super Bowl. However, a greater goal was to cement Jacksonville's image as an up-and-coming, progressive city.


"The media are a huge target for us," said Cathy Chambers, senior director of marketing and communications for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. "The city doesn't have a negative image to overcome, but we're trying to market ourselves and get our message out there."


The pen was a good way to help the direct-mail package get noticed, and fit the high-tech-savvy target audience, Chambers said. The mail piece was part of an integrated campaign that includes follow-up telephone calling and public relations efforts, with help from location-marketing firm Development Counselors International.


The other part of the mail campaign, targeted to 300 high-level business executives and site location specialists, consisted of four mail pieces, each designed in similar style to the one targeting the media but containing different items. For example, one package contained a Super Bowl golf shirt with the message, "Here's something for our February weather."


"It's an audience that's hard to reach," said Laurie Ryan, account group director for St. John & Partners. "You have to do things out of the ordinary to break through."


Other gifts sent in the packages included a pair of binoculars, sunglasses and a passport book, with each matching the theme of the package in which it came. For example, the sunglasses package has the headline, "Thinking about coming to Jacksonville for the Super Bowl? Make sure you have the right equipment."


Much of the work on the campaign went into list targeting, for which assistance was provided by Whittaker Associates, Ryan said. Considerable research on the front and back ends went into making sure the packages reached the right people.


Measuring the success of the campaign will be a long-term process. It can take three to five years between the time a company gets interested in moving to Jacksonville and the time the move is complete.


"It's not the type of campaign where you can expect somebody to pick up the phone and, bingo, you have a lead," Ryan said. "It's a relative thing."


Ryan said she couldn't reveal the cost of the campaign. However, she said it was commensurate with the high-level leads it targeted.


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