A collaboration between Mail Boxes Etc. and one of Hollywood’s leading film studios has just raised the bar for non-food franchise marketing. When James Simmons, marketing manager for Mail Boxes Etc. UK & Ireland, received a call from Warner Bros.’ UK agency earlier this year, he spotted an opportunity to take a new, innovative approach to franchise marketing support, via the franchise’s network of 160 stores.
Warner Bros. was looking for a well-established national retail network to help promote its $70 million animation adventure, Storks, which launches in cinemas on October 14, and post and parcel delivery specialist Mail Boxes Etc. was the ideal choice.
Simmons explained: “When the call came in back in February it coincided with the planning of our marketing campaigns for the second half of 2016. We were exploring ideas to help our franchisees increase parcel volumes through our stores, and the Storks storyline was a perfect match.” In the film, storks no longer deliver babies. Instead, they deliver packages for fictional global internet retail giant, cornerstore.com.
Not only is it a brilliant fit, but the way in which the two organisations collaborated is quite unique in the world of franchise marketing. “Movie tie-ins are relatively commonplace in the food franchise sector but as far as we’re aware, this is the first time a major movie studio has worked with a UK-based non-food franchise and it has offered our network of franchisees a chance to gain even more exposure for their businesses,” continued Simmons.
Using the headline ‘Despatched by Mail Boxes Etc., delivered by Storks’, with the strap line ‘Delivery is in our DNA’ the two organisations have combined their branding, imagery and messaging to create a comprehensive online and offline campaign that includes a prize draw to win a family holiday in Barcelona – complete with a helicopter trip for a bird’s-eye view of the city.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with the co-branding and integrating our sales message in the materials with the characters from the movie - but what this is actually about for us is the serious business of generating parcel volume and, that means increasing footfall in our stores, which is great for our franchisees,” said Simmons. “.”
Any customer sending a parcel through Mail Boxes Etc. during October can enter the draw online at the dedicated microsite. With 50 runners-up prizes including cinema tickets and some pretty cool Storks merchandise – particularly for movie buffs and anyone with kids. There is also a dedicated prize draw campaign on social media, with new prizes to win each week.
The jointly-funded activity has seen Mail Boxes Etc. stores fully branded with Storks displays and POS materials, including window clings, posters and full-size character standees. Franchisees and their teams were given the chance to win cinema tickets for by entering a ‘best dressed store’ photo competition, which attracted several highly creative entries. Some went further – contacting their local cinemas to arrange for them to display Storks cut-outs as well as handing out flyers to anyone buying tickets to see Storks on the opening night. One London franchisee even hosted a local primary school tour so that the children could learn more about how parcel delivery works.
“The entire campaign is a great showcase for everything that MBE does,” explained Simmons. “We produced all the printed collateral, in-store displays and branded giveaways, and of course we’ll be delivering as many parcels as our customers can bring in during October, to help give them the best chance of winning one of our fabulous prizes. Storks may not deliver in real life, but our shipping partners – UPS, DHL, TNT, Parcelforce Worldwide, Royal Mail and FedEx – definitely do!”
Simmons and his team wanted to create a campaign compelling enough for all MBE franchisees to participate, and one which differentiated Mail Boxes Etc. from other post and parcel retailers on the high street. “With every customer* receiving a free gift during the promotion and a chance to win cinema tickets, merchandise and enter our holiday prize draw, we hope that customers will leave the store with a smile, keen to return the next time they have a package to send.”