Retail - Adopt a Teddy
Over 10,000 people rushed to the store      
to get a bear during the Christmas season.                


During the 90’s, John visited the U.S. many times studying various marketing concepts. One which certainly gained his attention was the Macys’ Christmas Bear promotion, which involved customers being incentivised to spend $50 at Macys, in order to have the opportunity of purchasing a gorgeous fluffy Christmas Bear for just $15. The Christmas Bear was certainly extraordinary value at $15 and of course, tens of thousands of people rushed to the store during the Christmas season, in order to make sure they got that year’s Christmas Bear.

Seeing the extraordinary results of this concept, John came back to Australia and “tested” an extended version of the concept in numerous shopping malls. His version was not necessarily linked to the Christmas season. John organised for a plush toy importer to create a “family” of fluffy teddy bears, consisting of Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother – all appropriately dressed in adorable clothing. Yes, there is no doubt about it, this concept is heavily targeted towards women.

John figured that if he “tested” the concept mid-year in nine or ten shopping centres, this would be a fair guide of whether or not the concept could work in Australia. These “tests” proved enormously successful and as a consequence, John arranged for the importation of tens of thousands of his family-themed teddy bears.


Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
'Adopt a Teddy' - Colour saver sheets were provided to customers, on which they saved their various adoption stamps.

Whilst his teddy bears were being produced in China, John “hit the road” and sold the “Adopt A Teddy” promotional concept to dozens of shopping centres throughout Australia. He explained to shopping centre managers that the concept was a derivative of the enormously successful Macys Christmas Bear promotion in the U.S. and that its “huge female appeal” was a winning ingredient.

The actual mechanics of the promotion were very simple:

  1. The shopping centre simply provided its central promotions area for a giant teddy bear picnic display. Some centres went to a huge amount of trouble to create a display with swings and slippery dips, surrounding the props with hundreds of teddy bears at play!
  2. A site for a “Teddy Bear Adoption Centre”, where customers could purchase the bears after proving their minimum expenditure.
  3. Customers received a teddy bear “adoption stamp” with every $5 worth of purchases from any store. They stuck the stamp on a Teddy Bear Saver Sheet and when they had filled all ten spaces on the sheet (ie: $50 expenditure), they could purchase any of the teddy bears for a very low price.
  4. Because the bears were presented in a family format, this incentivised consumers to frequent the participating shopping centres regularly, in order to collect the whole family!


Click to Enlarge Click to Enlarge
'Adopt a Teddy' - Black & white brochure.

Over a period of six months, John sold in excess of 83,000 teddy bears throughout the Eastern Seaboard of Australia! To put this quantity in perspective, this sales number was more than either Woolworths or K-mart would sell in a one-year period! The results were quite extraordinary to say the least!

John provided the participating shopping malls with point of sale and advertising support, together with ideas on how they could present the “Teddy Bears Picnic” display in their mall. The concept was overwhelmingly “contagious”, where customers kept coming back for more, once they had “adopted” one of the members of the bear family.

And yes, it was reminiscent of the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon, even to the extent of many shopping centres providing consumers with an A4 Adoption Certificate upon purchase! John recounts, “I can recall that an international bank used the teddy bear concept on one occasion, to incentivise deposits into savings accounts. The offer was for consumers to deposit a certain amount into the savings account and receive a free teddy bear - and apparently over $40 million was deposited within just the first week!”

John goes on to say, “it just goes to show that a teddy bear is certainly a very powerful premium in terms of a desirable free or discounted gift!”

With teddy bears being a perennial favourite, particularly with girls and women, such a concept would be as appropriate today as ever.

home | about | client case studies | services | testimonials | contact
© Coolibah Marketing