By Erin Letson Posted September 30, 2008, 3:53 PM EDT
TORONTO To promote eight new storage products in its Command Strips line, 3M embarked on a 16-city tour in a big orange truck, visiting 21 colleges and universities in five Canadian provinces during September. The company, which manufactures products like Post-it notes and Scotch tape, created a dorm room inside the truck to show off items like its new adhesive key holder and storage containers. In line with the company’s Save the Walls Web site, the tour touted Command Strips' ability to adhere to walls without damaging them.
“The tour is about getting students to recognize the 3M brand and helping them stay organized. The products don't damage walls, so they can help students get their residence security deposits back at the end of the year,” said Kevin Beaudoin, Canadian brand manager for 3M Command Strips. Beaudoin worked with the GCI Group and the London, Ontario-based Branton Advertising to put the tour together. Unit 11 outfitted the 272-square-foot space inside the truck with a bed, closet, and desk, along with a true-to-scale photo of a messy dorm room on the opposing wall to help illustrate the importance of organization.
Orange stickers with reflective graphics covered the truck's exterior. “We wanted something flashy, and there are reds and yellows in the 3M product packaging, so we decided on orange to combine those two colours,” said Beaudoin. As for the timing? “We knew September would be the biggest month for sales, so we thought back-to-school would be the best time to do the tour,” he said. (The new Command Strips products launched in June.)
After a media preview day at the end of August, the tour kicked off at Seneca College on September 1, and stopped at 14 Ontario schools before heading west. (Quebec and the East Coast provinces weren't included.) Beaudoin said it was a challenge to arrange stops at multiple campuses because they all had different policies. For example, one school (which the tour didn't end up visiting) wanted $15,000 for the truck to park on its property; others simply wanted swag.
During the six-hour stops, improv-style Webisodes from the Save the Walls Web site played on a television above the bed, and visiting students received plastic cups filled with 3M hooks and coupons. A text-messaging contest allowed them to enter to win the contents of the truck.
The 3M Command Campus tour wrapped September 26 at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. “We're going to recap the program and have a little internal party,” said Beaudoin. “If it's a success, we'll do it again next year.”