It was a classic example of extortion at its finest, especially since it worked.
The New Hampshire-based surfwear company 2SI was having a hard time getting retailers to make appointments to check out its clothingat the January Surf Expo show. So the company decided to try another tact.
It rented the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool one evening during the show for its staff and any retailer who wanted to just come surf withthem. The one catch? The retailers had to come by the booth at the show to get the pass, and hopefully check out the line at thesame time.
“It was surprising how many people could find time to come by once you told them they could come surf the wave pool with us,” says2SI’s Jeff Rouel.
Of course, the company also brought along products including surfboards, rash guards, and trunks to the pool, so it turned out to bea little demo session as well. “We did as much drinking as we did surfing,” says Rouel.
“I’d say that 35 percent of the people who wouldn’t have come by actually did make it,” says Jeff. “We were actually afraid at onepoint that we’d have too many people show up.”
In the end he says about 25 people enjoyed the session at Typhoon Lagoon. “It just took one shop to pay for the whole thing,” hesays. In the competitive surf market where companies are forced to try just about anything to get the retailers attention, rentingthe pool proved to be one of the most creative. Even if it was technically bribery.