With Spring now gracing its presence upon us, more and more people are thinking about camping.

Recently I’ve noticed a downtown camping supplies store has an assembled tent outside of their store. It’s fastened to the side of the building that faces Stephen Avenue Mall. The tent has been outside and unattended for three consecutive weeks (and counting).

Although looking abused and worn, the tent has surprisingly survived the hardships of “downtown” living and no doubt continues to provide shelter for homeless people at night.

I’m assuming the store decided to put the tent on the street to showcase their product line and entice people to come in and shop. What the store hasn’t realized is they have fallen short on executing a great idea.

For people like me that pass the store everyday and are familiar with the tent, it’s become a daily and expected sight. For people that pass by the tent infrequently, the tent looks weathered, used and beat up (not a real effective sales tool that motivates people to come in and shop).

Instead, the store should have promoted the tent’s longevity and durability of being unattended in downtown Calgary for three weeks. The store should have put signage near the tent explaining the “case study” and had a day counter that kept a running tally of its outdoor use.

The store could have developed a campaign along the lines of “Able to withstand any outdoor element” and the messaging could have highlighted the outdoor elements the tent has had to endure.

The store could have even taken this concept to the next level and applied it other items from their store (i.e. – clothing, chairs) and initiate the same day tally (this is a tactic that a well known outdoor apparel company often uses – it truly is amazing how long their stuff lasts).

Just another example of “okay” marketing instead of great marketing.