Case Study: Shreve & Co. Jewelers, San Francisco

In 2006, Shreve & Co. Jewelers, San Francisco, held a yearlong promotion tied to the centennial of the San Francisco earthquake. The 146-year-old company’s flagship building at Post and Grant streets—opened in April 1906, a month before the great quake—was one of very few in the city to survive intact. So Shreve & Co.’s promotion spotlighted its longevity and reaffirmed its marketplace position. Ads touted the historical site. Timelines in light boxes in windows at the Post and Grant store documented the growth of Shreve & Co. One thousand tiny sterling silver spades were made, replicas of one—also made by Shreve & Co.—used by President William H. Taft at the 1911 groundbreaking for the city’s Panama-Pacific Exposition (1915), which celebrated San Francisco’s recovery.

“The whole thing was created around the centennial,” says Richmond, Va., marketing specialist Susan Morgan, who coordinated it. “Everything tied into the theme of their unique position in their marketplace.”

As a quake survivor, the jeweler was a sponsor of the city’s official 2006 Centennial Ball, and it gave each of 700 attendees a small Shreve & Co. blue box with silver lettering containing the silver spade, a foldout of the company’s history, and a “Once in a Century” $100 gift certificate. Other recipients of the promotional box included customers at a Shreve & Co. trunk show, guests of a nationally known San Francisco antiques show, and guests of a hotel chain using its “Shop San Francisco” package. Another 1,000 shovels were ordered for the rest of the year.

Morgan says the promotion generated a great deal of publicity about Shreve & Co. and brought many people to the stores.