BODY SHOP TAPS TRUCK TO REACH GRASS ROOTS

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The Body Shop is hitting the U.S. highway.

The specialty retailer is driving sales using a new marketing tool-a 48-foot semi truck trailer. The Body Shop has renovated an 18-wheeler into a traveling store, carrying more than 70% of its product line.

In late March, the seller of innovative skincare and hair products began visiting mall locations, college campuses and areas without Body Shop locations. Inside the mobile store, employees provide special services like complimentary makeovers.

"The Body Shop is trying to get more into grass-roots marketing efforts," said Melisse Shaban, VP-general manager retail. "The truck is a wonderful vehicle to talk to consumers for the first time."

Based in Littlehampton, England, the Body Shop has its U.S. headquarters in Wake Forest, N.C., and now has 241 U.S. stores. Because the retailer doesn't advertise through traditional media like TV or newspapers, it's looking to express a marketing image through unique efforts like the Body Shop truck.

Ms. Shaban believes grass-roots events return much more to the retailer than traditional advertising. With traditional advertising, "there is no opportunity to interact with the consumer."

To promote the tour, the Body Shop will rely on marketing support from local malls, college campuses and the communities.

The retailer will even use the truck in non-selling situations supporting community activities and social causes, which are big part of the company's overall image. It's looking into traveling to Oklahoma City to offer hand and foot massages for rescue workers.

The truck mobile marketing effort plans to continue for the next year and if successful, the company said, it might launch other marketing efforts like this.

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