Marketing the Y2k way

Everyone, it seems, is using Y2K as a marketing vehicle. In an effort to alleviate customer concerns that their deposits could vanish into thin air, North Shore Bank and its 37 locations will be open Saturday morning, Jan. 1.
“We will probably have a little fun with it,” says Stephen Steiner, a vice president for retail banking. “We will likely have some food and decorations, and give away some M&Ms at the door in honor of the new millennium.”
Bank employees have been offered some incentives to work that day and have responded favorably, Steiner says. Customer service staff will be manning the phones to assure depositors that their money is still there. As for Y2K merchandising, area department stores including Kohl’s and Boston Store are selling trademarked apparel that reads “O1-01-00.” Millennium merchandise sales are expected to pick up in fall, says Gary Vasques, vice president of marketing for Kohl’s.
Dick Meyer of Toyz ‘N Treatz in Glendale is marketing an M&M’s time capsule kit. The box kits contain a large egg-shaped time capsule which holds various toys such as a super ball, yo-yo, hacky sack and other items. M&M’s are spread on top.
“We decided to approach M&M last June with a proposal for selling more of their product, and a vehicle for selling more of our products. Fortunately for us, they liked the idea.” Meyer expects to sell upwards of 300,000 of the units, which wholesale for $12 each.
Klement Sausage Co. in Milwaukee was at the Y2K Expo in Waukesha last winter marketing non-refrigerated summer sausage and beefstick items, selling about 300 pounds altogether, says Jeff Klement. As the new year approaches, the South Side sausage maker may use Y2K in a sales and marketing campaign, Klement says.
“We get calls on a weekly basis from people who are stocking up on non-perishable items,” Klement says. “As we get closer, I think people are going to start talking about it and thinking about it.”
The Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau is behind efforts to promote the Crystal Ball, a black-tie-optional event at the Midwest Express Center on Dec. 31. The Crystal Ball will showcase Milwaukee’s future, including catalytic products such as the construction of Miller Park and the $50 million addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum.
“The whole idea is to have a party and to ring in the new millennium, and to focus on the renaissance of Milwaukee and its future developments,” says GMCVB’s Mary Dennis.
Invitations at $250 a pop will go out with the slogan “Why not go out in style?” Dennis says.
Similarly, the recently concluded edition of Summerfest billed itself as “The party of the century.”

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