FORT WAYNE, IN: Vera Bradley has launched an experiential tour designed to engage consumers on a grassroots level.
The “Be Colorful Tour,” which will run throughout May, allows consumers to pick bouquets of flowers off a cart attached to a decorated 1986 Jeep Wagoneer that will stop in surprise locations from state to state. Once consumers pick the flowers, Vera Bradley representatives will show them how their bouquets represent new styles, like “Doodle Daisy” and “Priscilla Pink,” said Melissa Schenkel, PR manager at the company.
She said all the traditional and social media elements of the initiative are being managed in house, but experiential marketing agency A Squared Group is working on some event executions.
The company is also giving consumers a promotional coupon for a free Vera Bradley photo book, which Schenkel said had more than an “80% redemption rate in the first five days” of the tour.
While Vera Bradley is teasing future locations, the company doesn't say exactly where it will stop next, she added. The van makes stops in mall parking lots, college campuses, and hospital parking lots, said Schenkel.
“We want it to be a surprise and a delight, and the purpose is to provide people with something that will bring a simile and make them happy,” she explained.
Vera Bradley has reached out to trade publications to promote the tour, and it has used Facebook and Twitter for outreach as well, added Schenkel. At the beginning of the initiative, the company used the hashtag #BeColoful. However, it changed the tag to #VBColor on April 17 because of some “vulgar tweets,” she added.
The Vera Bradley Facebook page has more than 900,000 “likes,” and its Twitter account has nearly 40,000 followers.
Schenkel said the goal of the campaign is to connect with both loyal and new customers. If the tour is successful, the company may launch another phase in the future.
“We believe strongly in the power of viral marketing,” she said. “We know when people receive something happy, a lot of time they talk about it, and maybe they don't make a Vera Bradley purchase on that day, but we hope that this memorable moment they had of picking out flowers and speaking with our representatives can help them relate to our products down the road.”