Repaint Reporter

Repaint Reporter (v73 n1)

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DOING THE UNCONVENTIONAL LEADS TO SUCCESS FOR FRANK MCCLOSKY FRANK , S COLLISION REPAIR Photos by Brian Harrison, provided courtesy of FenderBender. The term guerilla marketing usually refers to innovative, unconventional and low-cost tactics aimed at obtaining maximum exposure for a product or service. But in the case of Frank's Collision Repair in Houston, guerilla also means "gorilla" or "bunny" or "leprechaun." That's because owner Frank McClosky has donned all of these costumes and more in order to help his business stand out in the highly competitive Houston market. As usual, necessity was the mother of this particular invention. It was March of 2009, and the recession had fully taken hold in Texas. For the first time ever, Frank's Collision Repair had not seen a sales increase. Frank knew he had to do something and he wasn't afraid to try a tactic that others never would have dared. On St. Patrick's Day, he and his store manager dressed as leprechauns and made visits to insurance companies and dealerships, handing out trinkets and candy. The response? Laughs, hugs, photos and Facebook posts—and not long thereafter, a noticeable upturn in business. Fancy costume rentals became a regular item in Frank's marketing budget, which he expanded to a full 2% of sales— another bold move in the face of the recession. He spent the balance of the money on television, print, radio and online advertising, and kept up his insurance company visits, appearing as Frankenstein at Halloween or a member of a mariachi band on Cinco de Mayo. Frank also understood the importance of being able to handle the incremental business without taking on too much MA RKETING 6

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