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Jul 02, 2001
Case Study

Ocean Surfing CD ROM Builds Brand Awareness (and Sales) for Toes on the Nose

SUMMARY: When you've written the number of Case Studies that we have (we passed #200 a while ago) you get a little jaded about the next "cool" interactive marketing campaign. So when Toes on the Nose President Richard Allred told us repeatedly, "You have to see a copy of this campaign for yourself!" we were polite but not won over. Then he sent us a copy of the CD ROM and - YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS FOR YOURSELF! Click here to read the Case Study about this unusual branding campaign, and to learn how to get your own copy of...

After ten years in the surfing-related apparel business, Toes on the Nose President Richard Allred was bored of spending his marketing budget on the same-old, same-old campaigns, and he worried his marketplace was bored of them too. He says, "It's easy to say, 'Well just add another ad page to that same magazine.' But marketing is all about making an impression on someone."

The company already had an informational Web site; but, Allred wanted to build his brand using a richness of media that most Web surfers' limited bandwidth doesn't allow yet. He says, "So much of our brand excitement is revealed by sports in action, the images portrayed by athletes and surf contests. It's the guts and glory."


Allred was at a wedding when he met an executive from TagCD, a company that makes mini-CD ROMs that function as retail "hangtags." He says, "I knew I wanted to do this!"

So in the fall of 2000, Allred and his Marketing and Promotions Director Tammy Knappman, worked with the TagCD production team to create something that looks very much like what we expect Web sites may be like someday when bandwidth isn't as limited.

The mini-CD ROM, only measuring 3" across, feels more like an interactive version of a surfing show you might see on MTV or ESPN. It includes video of Toes on the Nose's official surfing team doing their stuff; footage of a women's surfing competition; a feature story on secret surfing spots; an interview with an 80-year old surfing legend in Hawaii; and classic surfing footage from the 1940s. Instead of the canned electronic sound we've all begun to expect from Flash sites, the CD ROM's images are backed with a soundtrack featuring songs from three hot bands, (which donated their music to the cause) Guttermouth, Cool Water Canyon and Bad Haircut. There are also hotlinks to a daily surf report, a retail store locator, and Toes' products.

Allred had 150,000 of the CD ROMs pressed and distributed them with a lavish hand as actual hangtags on clothing in retail stores, plus stacks of extras at top retailers' front counters; at trade shows; at key beaches and surfing contests; as his business card; and, to the press instead of the usual printed media kit.


While normally it's hard to pin a precise success measurement on a branding campaign, Allred can directly point to bottom line growth from this project because it impressed a major distributor so much that they agreed to take the Toes on the Nose line for 2001. Plus a distributor in Japan was so impressed that they paid for an additional 25,000 copies of the CD ROM with a Japanese-version cover!

The CD ROM also improved relations with retailers. Allred
explains, "As a retailer, you want to see why you should buy these products, what the brand stands for, and how the maker is going to support that clothing in the store. They look at this and their faces go 'Wow' -- that impression factor works."

Last but not least, the CD ROM also impressed consumers. In fact, Allred had to issue replacement copies because the originals were being stolen from stores. Plus, Allred used the CD ROM to grow his opt-in email list. As you quit the CD ROM you are asked to join the list.

Allred definitely plans to do another CD ROM for 2002. He says, "Our expectations were high, but they absolutely blew our minds."

Useful links related to this article

Toes on the Nose


Please note: After sending almost 500 copies of this CD ROM
to MarketingSherpa readers who requested a sample, we are
out of stock. Better luck next time!
See Also:

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