Get the BASE-ics Right

Oh, Goodie, Goodie!


It all started when Monica saw that Argus cyclists were
not getting anything besides their race number when registering for the event,
and she thought it would be a novel concept to give them a goodie bag filled
with product samples. “It took me a year to get my ducks in a row, and once I got
the go ahead, it was a fairly hard sell at first, because my clients had to
give me product and still pay to go into the bag, but the aim was to place their
samples directly in the hands of a targeted consumer, because we guaranteed a 100%
certainty that each bag would go to a cyclist.”


Those first 25 000 goodie bag were packed at Monica’s
home in Constantia, Cape Town, and she says it was a much bigger undertaking than
she had anticipated. “I learnt a lot about logistics, spacing and timelines the
hard way, but it was also a great success, because everybody loves a goodie
bag, no doubt about that!” And that first bag soon led to more, with Monica
asked to supply goodie bags for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, Discovery
Cape Times Big Walk, Momentum 94.7 Cycle Tour and a number of other premier
cycling, running and walking events.


In recent years Monica has been joined in the business
by her daughter, Kendall, who studied for a BA Business Admin degree
specialising in marketing, and each year the two source products for 365 000
bags across 18 premier sporting events, the biggest being the Discovery 702
Walk the Talk in Johannesburg with 55 000 bags, as well as a few corporate
events, including the prestigious Loerie Awards for the advertising industry. “To
date we have sampled over R700 million of products over 18 years!” says Monica



Goodie bags are not always properly understood by
athletes and organisers alike. “A goodie bag is a marketing exercise to attract
new consumers, and for that reason, some people prefer to call it a sample bag,”
explains Monica. “We guarantee our clients exclusivity, with just one product
per category in a bag, such as only one deodorant or shampoo, or one chocolate,
and we can advise them where to send their products, based on the demographics
of the specific events. The bag is therefore not part of the entry fee of an
event, and is not a gift to the athletes. But that said, it is a known fact an
event is often judged on its goodie bag.”


After 18 years of sampling, Monica says she has worked
out what athletes look for in a goodie bag. “They love eating something,
especially chocolates or sweets. I call it the ‘Bar One Dive’ when they go
looking for something to eat in their bags. Sachets of Vaseline, Arnica or
sunscreen that they can carry in a pocket during the event are also popular,
and they love post-event pampering products like bubble bath. People also love
quick breakfast samples that they quickly grab the morning of the event.”


Post-event, Monica asks athletes to rate the goodie
bag content through quick online surveys, with great incentive prizes to do so,
which then gives her clients valuable feedback on their products. “We ask the
athletes to tick what they liked or used from the bag, and we get on average a
12.5% response, which is much bigger than most sampling surveys ever get. Athletes
often want to give feedback on bags.”



Monica says that it is very important to her that her
business also gives back, and so she contracts in disability workshops to pack
the bags, using Services for the Blind in Johannesburg, the Alta Du Toit
Aftercare Institution for mentally challenged adults in Cape Town, and the
Durban Coastal Mental Health Challenge Workshop in KZN. “Not only do the
packers get paid for their work, but they benefit from the motor co-ordination
skills work,” says Monica, adding that she also give an event’s official
charity free inclusion in the bag.


“It then takes many truckloads to get the bags from
the packing houses to the expo or registration point, and in Johannesburg we
have Pickfords providing free transport as its contribution to the blind, which
in turn allows me to keep the price for sampling down, so that I can give my
clients great value for money, and the athletes a great goodie bag.”


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