PRISON BLUES ELUDES ORDINARY SALES PITCH

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How do you get several million dollars worth of exposure on a non-existent ad budget? First, make sure it's a killer ad, then milk every public relations opening you can. The strategy can work even when the product is Prison Blues jeans, made by inmates of the Oregon State Department of Corrections.

"It's really guerrilla marketing in its very truest sense," said Rick Dalbey, creative director of Dalbey & Denight, Portland, Prison Blues' agency.

Annual revenues reached $1.3 million in 1994, and may be $2.5 million by the end of fiscal 1995 on June 30. Ads are running in two Portland alternative papers, with the latest campaign starting in October.

A proposal to hike the ad budget to $500,000 will be considered in April, up from $40,000 in 1994. So far ads have run only within the state, but the bigger budget would include national buys.

Jennifer DeCoursey contributed to this story.

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