COLUMBUS, Ohio - Stretching your marketing budget is always a challenge and that’s true for Doug Kamerer and Mindy Greer, the marketing team at A.D. Farrow Co. Harley-Davidson in Columbus.
“The consumer looks at a Harley dealership and sees a big brand,” said Kamerer, whose one budget encompasses three stores — the flagship downtown, plus locations in Sunbury and Pataskala. “We try to live up to that, but there are limited resources financially and in personnel.”
To stay visible, Kamerer has found radio an affordable advertising medium and has formed relationships with several local stations. He recently negotiated with one station to hold a mini concert at the dealership with country music artist Rodney Atkins, as added value to A.D. Farrow Co.’s radio spot buys. This event was the springboard to Farrow’s current concept: Pop-Up Performances.
“Artists are coming to town to play at a venue much bigger than our dealership,” Kamerer said. “Now with each radio buy we get a set of performances at our dealership.”
Along with Atkins, American Idol’s Scotty McCreery and David Allan Coe have performed. In all 16 pop-ups are planned throughout the year. Performances will happen at both the dealership and the station, in a space they’ve branded the A.D. Farrow Pop-up Performance Studio.
“It’s big value added for us to have these performers for our customers and also something that feels much bigger than what we could otherwise afford to do,” Kamerer said. “We’ve bridged that to our whole media campaign for the year.”
Taking the concept further is A.D. Farrow Co.’s planned Ride to Country Jam on June 14. In cooperation with promoter Bluestone and Clear Channel radio station WCOL, top name country stars — such as Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley and Randy Houser — have been invited to join a celebrity ride from A.D. Farrow Co.’s Sunbury location to Legend Valley, a 30,000 capacity concert venue. Riders simply register for the ride and buy a T-shirt to participate; proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We did a similar ride a couple years ago with Dierks Bentley, to benefit his personal charity,” Kamerer said “We’re taking Dierks' idea and replicating it.”
Partnering with promoters and radio stations has huge benefits. As the dealership basks in the glow of the star power associated with big name performance artists, its awareness and profile are bolstered in the community. And all without the concern of contracts or hefty payments to talent. The cool factor transfers to A.D. Farrow Co.’s customers who get to mingle and ride with the stars. Icing on the cake? A charity prospers.
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Of course when events explode, as this ride has the potential to do, logistics come to the forefront. “For the first ride we did with Dierks we had about 1,200 bikes, and the line stretched eight miles end to end,” Kamerer said. “What if we get 5,000 this time?” Kamerer and Greer are actively planning for contingencies and getting more help on hand.
“We would never have the possibility of doing this without the partners,” Kamerer said. “You have to do things like this to live up to the big brand that Harley-Davidson is.”