Smart operators know that free publicity is priceless. Which is exactly why Sue Jarvis, owner of Aristocat Limousine and Luxury Coach Service in Warren, Mich., is the innovator that she is.
Among the many things this 15-vehicle operator and employer of 25 workers does is provide limo service for the event “Bounce.”
Sponsored by Real Detroit Weekly, a publication covering lifestyle and entertainment in and around Detroit, Bounce takes place every few months.
The publication hosts and promotes the event, while Jarvis provides shuttle service for several thousand people to and from some of the hottest nightclubs in and around Detroit. Not only is her business name all over her limo buses, but she also receives free advertising in the Real Detroit Weekly, on local radio stations and in other print publications.
“People call us and say they heard about us from Bounce,” Jarvis says. “They like our vehicles and what our operation does, so we’re able to bring in more customers from this exposure.”
Jarvis has been doing Bounce for about three years. “I pay for the cost of gas, but I don’t pay my drivers. Instead, they get tipped in cash,” she says.
John Badanjek, publisher of Real Detroit Weekly, says Bounce attracts 1,500 to 3,000 people, depending on where it’s taking place and the capacity of people the bars or clubs can hold.
The concept is to have people drive and pay for parking in whatever city Bounce is in. They pay one cover charge, $10, and get wristbands to get into five or six of the hottest clubs and bars. Every 15 minutes, there’s a bus departing for the next venue.
Badanjek previously had been doing tradeouts with Jarvis, where Aristocat provided chauffeured transportation for the publication in exchange for free advertising.
Since he had already established a relationship with Aristocat, when the idea of Bounce came up, Badanjek presented it to Jarvis and told her she should get involved. He pointed out it would be a huge advertising and marketing campaign for her, since promos would be featured on the radio, in print, and on fliers and e-mail promos.
“We’re talking about the upper echelon of club-goers, who could also be limousine users. These people who are going to the top-tier dance clubs are more likely to take a limousine, and it made sense to Sue,” Badanjek says.
On promos for Bounce, Aristocat Limousine Service is promoted along with the company’s phone number.
“We even tag some of our print ads with: ‘To book limousine service for your own event, call this number, and then list Aristocat’s number,’” he adds.