Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 20, 2010 04:00 PM
There's a different kind of house party these days – think Tupperware for the digital era, direct in your living room.
House Party, which helps brands connect with consumers in festive settings, bills itself as “a consumer activation and experiential marketing company that engages thousands of qualified consumer advocates to host in-home parties featuring a brand, product or element of entertainment programming.”
The parties take place on the same day across the U.S., and are coordinated via dedicated, proprietary online communities designed to engage consumers in home and build word of mouth buzz at the local and online level.
There's no cost to the host: House Party identifies consumers who are passionate about a particular brand, and helps them host parties for a hands-on experience with that brand. In return, the hosts blog, share their events' photos and videos, and interact with other hosts via branded microsites.
The results are shared with the brands, who can monitor what kind of engagement has been created by their House Party event. “We create a cool situation full of potential," says CEO Kitty Kolding.
"We deliver thousands of living rooms, filled with partygoers, to brands that are anxious to get in front of consumers in an authentic environment. And then we stand back. We do that because the purest by-product of a House Party is conversation. To us, it's not a conversation if someone inserts themselves into the middle of it, telling either end what to say or how to say it."
There’s no actual selling at the parties, which are look-see-and-try events only. Participants receive exclusive discounts and coupons, premiums and gifts – all branded merchandise.
Upcoming events include Rubbermaid's Clean Little Secrets House Party next month, for which each host will receive:
• Rubbermaid Reveal spray mop for host (annual savings of $50)
• Rubbermaid rubber cleaning gloves for host
• Rubbermaid Reveal spray mop coupons for guests
• Goody Hair Ties
• Recipe Cards for Solution Mix
• eMusic Cards
• Papermate Pens
And it’s not just products that trigger a House Party: a Spartan Sagas Tailgate sponsored by Michigan State University is coming up as college football starts up again in September.
Kolding adds, “What we’ve learned as we built this business is: the conversations that are the most valuable and memorable to the consumer, and the most powerful for the brand, occur in person – face to face; this is what we consider to be at the heart of social marketing; and then these face to face conversations get exponentially amplified via the wonderful tools that exist today like our microsite, Twitter and Facebook.”
House Party events, which literally arrive in boxes for the party-thrower, come in English, Español, Italiano, Deutsch and Français. So party on, as the social media revolution brings brands directly to consumers' front doors.