Spy Story How do you hold the attention of agents over an 18-month qualifying period? How about two kickoffs? In essence, that's what London Pacific Life & Annuity did with its promotion of the company's 1999 Convention in Cannes and Monte Carlo. Initially, the convention promotion focused on the sophistication and tradition of the settings, says Charlotte Stott, senior vice president of marketing. An elegant black-and-white announcement brochure (fig. 1) evoked the mystique of the south of France, and an accompanying velvet bag (fig. 2) contained usable casino chips.
"Then we decided the campaign might be a little too sophisticated, and we needed to bring some humor into it," Stott says. "That's when we came up with the Spy Guy."
Midway through the qualification period, agents were sent a second kickoff-type brochure (fig. 3) that introduced them to Nick Steele, a James Bond-type on the trail of the stolen Palme d'Or, the most sought-after prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequent mailings have followed Steele's escapades from yachts to casinos to cafes in the south of France. "It works because the agents, while looking forward to the next 3-D piece [sunglasses, a compass, binoculars], are also looking forward to the next part of the story," says Angelo Romero, senior communications specialist.
It might work too well, in fact. Unless Stott can increase her room block in Cannes, she says, "the home office might have to stay down the street."
The Program Company: London Pacific Life & Annuity, Raleigh, N.C.
Event: 1999 Convention
Sites: Carlton Inter-Continental, Cannes; Hotel Hermitage, Monte Carlo
Dates: April 25 to May 1 (Cannes); May 1 to May 4 (Monte Carlo)
Qualification Period: September 1, 1997 to February 28, 1999
Qualifying Attendees: 125 (projected)
Total Attendees (including spouses and home office): 280 (projected)
Theme: Festival du Cannes