'Shoestring' campaign yields co-op retailer industry award

Retail Council of Canada recognizes MEC's youth engagement effort

VANCOUVER, June 3 /CNW/ - Mountain Equipment Co-op(TM) (MEC), Canada's leading outdoor retailer, has received a prestigious Retail Council of Canada (RCC) industry award for the marketing campaign it developed to support youth engagement. Done on a shoestring budget that took advantage of several communication channels, the campaign resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of youth who acquired a membership in the outdoor retail co-operative.

"Increasing the number of young people who participate in outdoor recreation is one of our long-term goals, said MEC's Nathalie Baudoin, senior manager of communications and marketing." The award is very gratifying because our peers recognize not only that we were successful at attracting youth members but that we did so in innovative and cost-effective ways."

MEC reached out to prospective members with email blasts, in-store promotional materials, Facebook ads and special promotions for young members. The campaign demonstrated that youth acquisition rates can match or even surpass the rate of growth of other ages with the support of a targeted campaign.

The campaign was undertaken in light of several significant demographic shifts that, over time, could undermine MEC's growth and continued success. These include Canada's aging population, rising obesity rates and a less active older membership.

"Amidst the 'noise' of social media, peer networks and video gaming that preoccupy a lot of youth, we know that MEC has to be both relevant and cool if youth are going to join MEC and take up outdoor recreation," said marketing manager Selena McLachlan. "The positive response we received to the engagement program clearly suggests that we struck a chord with many youth."

The retail marketing and advertising award, was bestowed on MEC at the RCC's annual SHOP conference in Toronto on Monday.

MEC is Canada's leading retailer of outdoor clothing and equipment, providing quality products and services for activities like hiking, cycling, and paddlesports. Established in 1971, MEC operates 13 destination stores in central locations across Canada as well as mail and web-order services. More information about MEC is available at www.mec.ca.

SOURCE Mountain Equipment Co-Op

For further information: For further information: Tim Southam, Public Affairs Manager, (604) 707-4480 (direct), (604) 561-4528 (mobile), tsoutham@mec.ca

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