Brands Throw House Parties
Magazines are now joining brands in throwing parties in consumer homes. This past weekend, Redbook partnered with House Party to throw 1,000 “girls-only” parties in readers’ homes. Those attending received copies of the magazine, as well as samples, coupons and other merchandise from advertisers such as L’Oréal, Seattle’s Best coffee and Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.
House Party has worked with ABC Family, Budweiser, Ford, S. C. Johnson, Kraft and McDonald’s on such in-house events, but Redbook was the first magazine to hire the marketing firm.
“The most effective way to sample any product is to actually have a consumer experience it,” Mary Morgan, vice president and publisher of Redbook, told The New York Times. “This is like Redbook parachuting into a party and saying, ‘Here we are.’ “
Attendance at the events, described as National Happy Hour parties, was projected to reach more than 15,000.
In the same manner, Kiwi, the green-themed parenting magazine, is hosting events, known as Moms Meet, although it’s doing it on its own. About 14,000 “mom ambassadors” are expected to attend weekly or monthly meetings that average 20 attendees apiece, according to the Times article. Along with discussing themes in the magazine, attendees receive product samples and discuss their merits. The sampling program has so far included smaller brands like Sprout organic baby food and Laloo’s goat milk ice cream but a deal was recently reached for Teddy Grahams, the Nabisco brand sold by Kraft. The cookies are made with whole grain, no artificial flavors or colors, and sugar instead of corn syrup.
“Kiwi moms are entirely engaged and committed to this lifestyle,” Maxine Wolf, the publisher of Kiwi, told the Times, “and recommending these types of products to their friends.”
The move by the magazines come as a wide range of brands from Michelin to Verizon to Bic are throwing house parties. The brands are said to gain customer insight and trial product, but also build buzz and create ambassadors for brands. Brands are also capitalizing on social media’s reach to find the best hosts for the parties as well as organize and promote the events. Some are even holding contests to host the house parties.
Speaking to Bloomberg Businessweek, Ronald Goodstein, a marketing professor at Georgetown University, said house parties for brands hold appeal because consumers are programmed to “resist the sales push” amid constant advertising blitzes in their lives. “The advantage of word-of-mouth is if I’m giving you a personal recommendation because we’re friends, you don’t counter-argue that,” he said.
The downside, he said, is that those invited to the events might wonder whether their friends “sold out” for coupons and free merchandise and likewise be turned off by the brands associated with the event. Hosts aren’t compensated and reportedly don’t receive any extra free gifts.
- Magazines Host Parties, and Introduce Some Brands – The New York Times
- Brands use house parties to collect data – Direct Marketing News
- Bic teams up with House Party to promote women’s disposable razors line – Drug Store News
- House Parties with a Commercial Twist – Bloomberg Businessweek
Discussion Question: What do you think of branding events in consumers’ homes and magazines getting into the house party business?