Without spending a cent, a Denver company that makes messenger bags from military surplus has bagged a national advertising campaign on primetime TV.
Sword & Plough, which makes bags and other apparel, is one of two companies that hotel chain Holiday Inn selected for a series of television and online advertisements airing through September. (You can see the video at the bottom of this story).
“This is an opportunity that we would not be able to afford as a small business,” said Betsy Núñez, 28, who co-founded Sword & Plough with her sister, Emily Núñez Cavness, 26, in 2013. “It’s a great way for us to get our message and our brand reach farther than we would be able to do on our own.”
The commercials – which started airing on cable and network television earlier this month – show workers making Sword & Plough products and show the sisters traveling to different cities to make sales calls.
Holiday Inn first heard about Sword & Plough through an organization called MBAs Across America, wrote Eric Lent, who oversees Holiday Inn in the Americas, in an email to BusinessDen.
Then in October, Núñez said, Sword & Plough’s CFO got a call from the marketing company Ogilvy & Mather, asking about the Colorado-based company’s origins and how its employees travel for business.
Then came filming.
Between meeting with their wholesalers, scouting retailers interested in selling Sword & Plough and attending industry conferences, the sisters are on the road anywhere from one to four times every month, Núñez said.
Starting in December and ending in February, a film crew came with them: First to their headquarters in Denver, then to Seattle and finally to Florida. It was at least a six-day shoot, as Núñez remembers it.
“They were able to film alongside the things we were already doing,” Núñez said.
This week, Núñez said, the ad will air during network shows, including CBS drama “NCIS” and NBC singing competition “The Voice” as well as on 15 cable stations.
Sword & Plough can add the spots to a trophy case of media coups. In the past year, it was the subject of a glossy write-up in O, The Oprah Magazine and made it onto CNBC by taking part in an event at the White House.
But previous swings at prime time haven’t always ended in success. The company came up short in a contest that would have landed it a 30-second ad during Super Bowl 50.
Sword & Plough makes bags, hats and other accessories from new and used military supplies, using contract manufacturers, including some in Colorado.
A canvas and twill tote bag starts at $100 and messenger bags at $270. Núñez declined to share the company’s revenue, but said Sword & Plough is profitable.
She estimated that 98 percent of sales are online, but Sword & Plough products are also available at some brick-and-mortar stores. And, she said, the company is looking to expand wholesaling and would like to sell its goods at stores such as Nordstrom.
There’s one more perk to the advertising deal, wrote Lent of Holiday Inn: Both Sword & Plough founders were given rewards points to spend on hotel rooms.
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