Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Marketing Cute Coins - Royal Canadian Mint's Clever Marketing Strategy

Historically, a Mint was established as part of a respected monetary system. To state it more simply, it is a place where money is coined. Most Mints are governmental owned, such as the Royal Canadian Mint. Minting coins and printing money bills is not cheap. The Mints came up with a clever marketing strategy to make money (no pun intended): minting a limited amount of commemorative or collector coins.
This is big business, as the 2011 annual results show. The Royal Canadian Mint recorded revenues of a whopping $3.2 billion. The pre-tax profits reached $43.8 million, which makes 2011 the fourth best year for net income for the Royal Canadian Mint which operates as a corporation whose sole shareholder is the Government of Canada.

As part of its clever marketing strategy, the Royal Canadian Mint's latest collectible coin features a dinosaur whose skeleton shines at night from beneath its scaly hide. The coin actually features two images on one face. The other side depicts Queen Elizabeth II. (No, she does not glow in the dark). Coin designer Julius T. Csotonyi infused the design with a photo-luminescent element so that, when the lights are on, a depiction of the dinosaur appears, but when the lights are off, the dinosaur’s skeleton glows in the dark. According to the Mint, the luminescence will not fade with time.

Made of cupronickel, the coin has a face value of 25 cents and its sales price is $ 29.95. It is much larger than a regular Canadian quarter, which avoids confusion. The coin shows an artist's rendering of Pachyrhinosaurus Lakustai, a 4-ton, 26-foot dinosaur discovered in Alberta in 1972 and named after Al Lakusta, the man who stumbled on its bones in the Pipestone Creek bone bed.

Because the coin is so gimmicky, it received a great deal of media attention. Articles about the coin appeared in a slew of newspapers and technology sites, including CNET and Wired. The coin was also mentioned on television news programs and in a segment “Canada’s Currency Coup” on the Colbert Report. As a result, the coin already sold out of its 25,000 mintage and is selling for a substantial premium to the original issue price on eBay.

But the Royal Canadian Mint is not stopping here. The quarter is the first of a series of four coins. All these coins will feature photo-luminescent prehistoric creatures. These coins are part of its marketing and sales plan. Overall, the Royal Canadian Mint is planning as many as 150 numismatic products and collectibles for 2012.

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