Hangvertisers: The new eco-friendly direct marketing tool in your closet

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 29, 2010
Condor Advertising's innovative tool, Hangvertiser, enables companies to get their ads into customer's closets and stay there

Imagine a reader cutting a brand's ad out of a newspaper and keeping it safely in the closet! While this may be an advertiser's ultimate dream - it is not something people would be seen doing normally. Condor Advertising offers this option to brands, but with a twist, or should we say, 'hook'.

Twenty five year old German entrepreneur Peter Freislederer, who has spent close to two years in India, set up a boutique direct marketing agency, Condor Advertising and has been developing the Hangvertiser concept. When afaqs! met him to discuss it, he was excited about its roll out and eager to share information on the new medium.

What is 'Hangvertiser'?

As the name suggests, 'Hangvertisers' are basically clothes hangers on which brands can have their communication messages displayed. Through this effective in-home media tool, companies will be able to get their target audience to not just view but even store the ad in their closets. It grips the audiences' attention by ensuring that the advertiser's messages reach the right group of people, at the most suitable time and in the most conducive ambience.

Freislederer was inspired to launch this in India after the success witnessed by other agencies such as the US based The Hanger Network and another German hanger advertising firm.

Freislederer, who has a degree in Business Administration from Australia and has lived and worked in Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Panama, is tremendously excited with the potential of Hangvertisers in India and the initial response that has been most encouraging.

So how does it reach a customer's closet?

After initial research on consumers' dry cleaning behaviour, the agency launched the concept. The medium reaches out to high income group households - that of upper class and upper middle class with an income above Rs 50,000 a month.

To begin with, Condor Advertising approached dry cleaners to educate them about these hangers. These are then given to them free of charge. A total of 48 selected dry cleaners have already joined the Hangvertiser distribution network. In a month, these dry cleaners deliver more than 1,00,000 hangers to their customers. An incentive for dry cleaners is that stocking and providing these Hangvertisers to customers help them save the extra Rs 3-7 that they would otherwise spend on wire hangers. It also helps build their image and service quality when they are linked to big brands that are advertising on these.

Condor Advertising has commissioned a company, Ansa Print Pack, to handle the manufacturing and printing on these hangers. The company even provides Condor a certificate stating that only recycled products are used in the manufacturing of these.

Getting Hooked! The benefits of Hangvertisers

A huge benefit of Hangvertisers is that advertisers have a control over the distribution of these, depending upon their target area. The city has been divided into seven zones for now, from South Mumbai to Andheri, with more to be added shortly. For example, Zone 1 will cover dry cleaners in Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Fort and Churchgate, while Zone 2 will cover Girgaon, Malabar Hill, Mumbai Central and Breach Candy.

Thus, advertisers can pick and choose target locations to have their Hangvertisers given out only in these locations to promote specific offers, location-specific sales and to share store locations and presence.

Hangvertisers also promote the 'green' factor since they are made from recycled and recyclable paper. These are made from imported Kappa board, making them 100 per cent environment friendly.

Hangvertisers also have a direct reach to end customers. The biggest problem direct marketers face is reaching their end consumer directly. For example, most housing societies do not allow sales people to enter the building premises but Hangvertisers reach consumers where it matters the most, in their homes, without any disturbance or interference.

However, just entering the house is not all. The big advantage is 100 per cent viewing. Once a consumer removes a piece of clothing from the hanger, he/she is bound to see the ad, unlike other direct mailers where a customer may choose whether or not he wants to remove the envelope or any other covering to view the mailer.

They also have a long shelf life and can be kept in the wardrobe for at least 30 days, which results in multiple viewing of the ad by the audience. Freislederer shares an insight, "One thing my friends have told me about India is that Indians don't like to throw things away. So if it can be used and reused, an item will be stored in the house."

Interestingly, multiple creatives can be printed per Hangvertiser. "For instance, Tata can advertise its Tata Indicom mobile, Tata Broadband and Tata DTH on one Hangvertiser, thus reducing advertising cost and being more effective," he says.

Hangvertisers also provide an option for sampling, where a product sample could be attached on the hanger. Freislederer shares that the German company that promotes a similar concept in Germany rolled out a national campaign for Nivea Men, where cream samples were given on these hangers.

Removable response cards can also be attached to Hangvertisers. This doubles up as an offer for the advertiser and also helps in measuring the effectiveness of the campaign when a customer brings the response card to avail a discount or a freebie.

Why hang on?

If a brand takes up 10,000 Hangvertisers for a month, it will reach an estimated 7,500 households, reaching 22,500 consumers. An advertiser can take up as many or as few Hangvertisers as he likes, and Freislederer shares that campaigns on these could cost anywhere upwards of Rs 1.2 lakh for the month.

Brands such as Reid & Taylor, JBL, Stevens & Brothers and Zee News have already commenced campaigns with Hangvertisers.

Freislederer shares that while advertisers are interested in the new concept and think of it as innovative, not many are ready to try it out. "Many brands don't want to be the first ones to try it out. Internationally, the concept has worked extremely well. We have big expectations for Hangvertiser," he says.

Going further

Freislederer shares that Delhi as a market is more organised when it comes to dry cleaners, and Mumbai is taking off well, too. Thus, the company is rolling out the product in Mumbai, plans to roll out in Delhi by September and in Bengaluru early next year.

"Metros will be the focus since these are affluent, urban markets where people choose to get their clothes dry cleaned," he says. Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune will be other important markets for Hangvertisers.

So it looks like other media have competition from incoming innovative direct marketing tools. Will customers 'hang' on to such brand messages? Let's wait and watch.

© 2010 afaqs!