February 9th, 2011
House Parties with a Commerical Twist
On Jan. 29 six women converged on a brick, single-story home in Franklin Park, Ill., a working-class town about 14 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. As the temperature outside dipped below freezing, hostess Melanie Lindsey, 28, urged her guests to sample the Moscato white wine, savor the chocolate-dipped macaroons and bowls of candy hearts, and enjoy the party favors: an array of Durex condoms and lubricants.
That night, Durex sponsored some 5,000 condom bashes across the U.S. called “Durex Girl Talk House Party: Valentine’s Day Edition.”
Corporate clients are willing to pay House Party an average of $250,000 for 2,000 parties because the company’s staff uses such criteria as age, ethnicity, and breed of family dog to select the hosts best suited to talking up a certain product or brand, according to Kolding. That level of targeting is nirvana for those pitching consumer products—but often tough to achieve using conventional marketing.