Big Companies Go Small/Temp to Get to Campus Market

One of the core reasons that the campus is a great place to launch a biz is that for many products/services there are customers; pioneering/trendsetting customers willing to try new things. Moreover, if you gain a customer at a young age, you may hold that customer for a long time and create brand loyalty.

Today’s WSJ features an article by Jennifer Saranow highlighting how many large firms are beginning to use temporary or pop-stores (think upgraded carts/tables that you often see hawking goods on campus). From the article,

Victoria’s Secret’s Pink, a young women’s clothing brand of Limited Brands Inc., this fall is opening its own pop-up store at about 12 schools, up from 10 last spring. The store opens for a day, selling merchandise, handing out promotional items and collecting used clothing for charity.

The race to introduce brands via these short-duration marketing and selling events is likely to accelerate. American Collegiate Intramural Sports, which sells sponsorships for college intramural programs and fitness centers, is seeking a fashion brand to sponsor fitness centers and host pop-up stores at 100 campuses in the next year.

Companies generally make a donation to the school, campus bookstore or student organization that sponsors their visits, which means hosting the stores can help raise funds for student groups.

Brands’ growing presence has more colleges balking at these campus marketing events and stores. The University of Florida recently rejected a request from Pink to visit this fall. The university doesn’t allow companies to do business on its campus. “There would be no end to it — you would have the whole campus covered with them in no time,” says school spokesman Steve Orlando. “We don’t want our faculty and students overrun with commercialization.”

I find it interesting that a school like Florida (where Gatorade was born and which has one of the most ‘commercial’ athletic programs in the world) claims not to allow companies to do business on campus.

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