Retailer of the Week: Becker Jewelers

Retail jewelers have been in the romance business a long
time. Every romantic theme has been tried and tested, done and overdone. So
when a jeweler is involved in an original, creative promotion around the very
quality that drives this industry, it’s worth a note of recognition. This
week’s Retailer of the Week distinction goes to A. G. Becker, store owner of
Becker Jewelers, for his Super Serenade promotion.

The Christmas countdown has begun, but the Breese,
Illinois-based jeweler is already looking ahead to Valentine’s Day. Next
February will mark the jeweler’s fourth annual Super Serenade promotion.

The promotion got its start in 2007, when Scott Patric, the
morning drive disc jockey at WCXO FM (where Becker Jewelers is an advertiser),
came up with the idea. 

“The idea kind of stems from guys in a barber shop quartet
delivering a message of love in the form of a singing a telegram,” says Patric.
“I knew for Becker’s, we wanted to do something a bit different on Valentine’s
Day because hearts and cupid are way over done.”

The contest is pretty straightforward. Listeners to WCXO FM
call in to the DJ or send in requests via First Class mail or email to have a
loved one serenaded to on Valentine’s Day. The contest is open to anyone, with
a majority of requests coming from women.

“The split is about 85/15,” says Patric. “I think women
enjoy putting their man on the spot. We’ve seen it all, cupped faces, red
faces, big laughs. Guys simply don’t know how to react – especially in front of
their coworkers.”

Becker Jewelers serves Breese, a small town with a
population of just over 4,000 people. WCXO FM is a 6,000-watt station based in
nearby Carlyle, Illinois, that caters
to small markets like Breese, but also reaches the big city of St. Louis,
Missouri. With callers responding to the Super Serenade promotion from Breese
and surrounding small markets, as well as St. Louis, typically WCXO FM receives
about 50 to 75 Super Serenade requests each year.

Once a pool of contestant requests are collected, Patric and
his radio station colleagues randomly select six to eight Super Serenade
winners. The contest gets a lot of play on WCXO FM in the two weeks leading up
to Valentine’s Day.

The Super Serenade song itself was once a WCXO FM-produced
radio jingle for the jewelry store and was modified slightly for use as the
Super Serenade song. Patric likes the song so much, in the lead up to
Valentine’s Day, the jingle-turned-song is part of his morning drive time playlist.

It’s easy to understand why. The Super Serenade song is
played by Eric Seifert, a guitar player and singer with Fast Lane, a popular
local band. The song itself is definitely a country music toe-tapper with
lyrics that have a tug-at-your-heart-strings quality to them.

As the Super Serenades are being done at the chosen sites,
WCXO FM does live spots. And, the average on-site serenade lasts just under two
minutes, making the experience doable for most recipients.

“There’s not only a tremendous response from the people
involved in the Super Serenade contest, it gets a lot of listeners tuning in as
they’re aired,” says Patric. “Although the same song is sung, it’s tailored to
each giver and recipient, and, of course, the location is different. We’ve done
Super Serenade live spots just about everywhere, from construction sites to
banks.” 

Video cameras are also brought on location. Videos are
uploaded to YouTube and are featured on Becker’s main website. Super Serenade
videos don’t exactly go viral, but there are enough unique views on YouTube to
indicate that Super Serenade winners have forwarded the link to a number of
family members and friends. The added exposure enhances Becker Jewelers SEO on
YouTube while branding the store’s name in association with a lighthearted and
often humorous promotion in his market.

When a Super Serenade actually happens, it’s more than just
about the song and the romance. Patric has worked with many of Becker’s
cross-promotional partners in Breese and surrounding markets. Balloons,
chocolates and a 24K gold dipped rose are typically given to each Super
Serenade winner. Contest winners are also part of an additional drawing for
prizes including a dinner for two or a weekend resort getaway.

The Super Serenade event itself doesn’t change much. Some
subtle tweaks are made each year with cross-promotional giveaways, but for the
most part the winning formula hasn’t changed much since its inception.

The only real change that has occurred since 2007 is the
radio station’s format, going from oldies to variety hits. “In the first two
years, the contestants were older,” says Becker. “In 2010 when the format
changed to attract younger listeners, the promotion attracted a younger crowd.”

For Becker, the success of his annual Valentine’s Day Super
Serenade isn’t about the sales directly linked to the radio promotion. “I think
only one couple who were serenaded have purchased an engagement ring from us,”
says Becker. “But the event itself creates a tremendous buzz about the store in
our market, neighboring markets as well as St. Louis.”

Reaching younger bridal customers is part of the goal for
Becker, but a side benefit he didn’t realize is breaking down the traditional
stereotypes of a jeweler and his store. “It has made us more approachable to
younger people,” says Becker.

New to Facebook, Becker is looking to promote the contest
more aggressively on Facebook in 2011 to increase interest in the event, garner
more likes and friends for the store’s profile page and upload rich content to
the social media website.