Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reading, Writing, and Red Sauce?

A Pocatello, Idaho teacher is trying to do his part to fill his school's budget gap by offering advertising on exams. On a recent history exam, at the bottom of each page in 1" red letters was: MOLTO'S PIZZA 14" 1 TOPPING JUST $5. The principal wasn't thrilled, but Jeb Harrison convinced him that it helped to illuminate topics such as the Great Depression.

Molto provided 10,000 sheets of paper, valued at $315 for Harrison's five classes, with their ad on each page. I would suspect the $315 was more than offset by the PR storm the school had to handle.

I won't get into the merits (or demerits) of advertising and branding in schools. But you have to hand it to Molto Caldoro Pizzeria. They:

  1. Understand their target market (teenagers)

  2. Understand the importance of being first in a new channel (at the bottom of exams)

  3. Understand the value and receptiveness of cash strapped intermediaries (school districts facing budget cuts)

As an instructor at a local university, and as a parent of a high school student, I don't want ads on the bottom of tests. But we marketers should all take a lesson from Molto and look for innovative ways to engage our customers.