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Marketing with Stuff

Marketing with Stuff

When Spencer was growing up, he simply loved stuff. He loved his bikes, rollerblades, electronics and even the portable TV he snagged from the front hall closet to stow near his bunkbed. He personalized all his things by putting his favorite branded stickers on them. Shortly after his sixteenth birthday, he convinced our Dad to let him buy his own car rather than sharing with our two oldest brothers. It was important that he drove a car that reflected him, even if it meant blowing all his cash from his short-lived, part-time job at Dairy Queen. 

Fast-forward twenty-some years and here he is with a company called Sota Clothing, were he gets to use his love of buying stuff as a tested and effective marketing technique. His first big purchase with company money was the 1972 Chickadee camper, now known as our Sota Caravan. Having purchased it in the spring of 2016, we were able to renovate it in time for the summer season. We hauled it around to pop-up shops all around the Twin Cities, with its biggest stop: a spot at the Minnesota State Fair.

When Spencer was initially dreaming up this mobile store ambitions of getting into the State Fair were already in mind. He knew the camper would help set us apart from the other numerous vendor applications. He drew up layouts to make it both unique and functional and hopefully something anyone would fall in love with. When these dreams became reality with the Sota Caravan, the business picked up new steam and it reinforced the way he wanted to do marketing. 

 

 Sota Caravan at Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis

Then came the 1969 F100. Spencer was in northern Minnesota when he drove by a creamy-white pickup on the side of the road with a for sale sign on its window, he dreamt about how cool it would be if it became the company truck. A few moments later he found himself pulled-over on the side of the road searching for its listing on Craigslist; he made arrangements to purchase it the following day. Spencer branded the truck to look like Sota Clothing's very own forrest ranger vehicle. The F100 now serves as a significant player in Sota's various marketing efforts, including photoshoots in the Northland and also a staple for our display during the State Fair. It even brings people to our booth who really have no interest in our clothing but just want to know how much we'd be willing to sell the truck for!

 

F100 incorporated into our booth at the State Fair

Most recently Spencer's buddy sold him on the concept of a fully branded Sota Cafe Racer Motorcycle. Spence started with a 1974 Honda CL360 purchased off of Craigslist for $800, then his buddies at CROIG spent the next few months customizing it to fit our brand. We debuted the bike in a recent fall shoot up north, and were amazed to see those photos be amongst our most liked and shared to date- allowing us to gain exposure with new audiences that we wouldn't have reached otherwise.  In addition to the F100 and Sota Caravan, the Cafe Racer has proven to push Sota Clothing forward in ways that traditional advertising rarely achieves, giving Sota Clothing new ways to express its values and lifestyle.  

Little did Spence (or our parents) know growing up, that his love of stuff would have the potential to serve him so well in the job he would one day hold. Fortunately he has matured some in his buying choices since his teenage years, but his employees still joke that if they would let him, he would buy a TV for every room in the office.

 

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