By  on July 22, 2008

The Weatherproof Garment Co. is banking on a warm Thanksgiving to avoid doling out scores of freebie jackets.

As part of the company’s “If It’s Freezing, It’s Free” marketing campaign, Weatherproof will give shoppers who buy one of its women’s jackets in the first week of November a complete refund if the temperature in Manhattan’s Central Park on Thanksgiving Day morning is 32 degrees or colder.

Understandably, the concept was not met with great enthusiasm from the company’s owners. In fact, “It could put us out of business.” was their first reaction, according to president and chief executive officer Freddie Stollmack. But he persevered and persuaded them otherwise, based on his successful offbeat marketing track record. Giving a jacket to The Naked Cowboy, the Times Square fixture who strums a guitar wearing only tighty whities and a cowboy hat, was one of his ploys.

For its new initiative, Weatherproof has an “explosive public relations blast planned” for October that will feature print ads, billboards and phone kiosks touting the potential free-for-all. The company will also hype the strategy at next month’s MAGIC trade show.

Last year the outerwear firm secured weather insurance to offset costs from slow sales due to mild winter temperatures. Once again, it will invest in weather insurance for the upcoming winter, as well as for a special policy for “If It’s Freezing, It’s Free.”

“We’re not looking to collect on this stuff. We’re just looking to sell closer to regular price than what happens in the stores in January, February and March,” Stollmack said.

Nor is he rooting for a warm winter. “This time we hope Thanksgiving is not cold, but we hope this winter is,” he added.

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