What a Bright Idea!

By Carol Tisch March 31, 2010

For advertising agencies and their clients, reaching the hearts and minds of consumers is trickier than ever. Big ideas, local ad agency pros say, can no longer be conveyed in one-way messages. They involve meaningful dialogues with consumers: teaching them, engaging them, connecting with them emotionally so they become advocates of your brand.

We polled five area ad agencies for their bright marketing ideas.

Eric Mower and Associates

➜ Remington’s Faces of Success

Recognizing that a groundbreaking online experience can deliver brand sizzle and user loyalty beyond traditional advertising, the Sarasota office of $215-million national agency Eric Mower and Associates recently engaged Remington Products’ target audience of males, 18 to 34, with the campaign, “Face of Success.”

At the core of the campaign were a national sweepstakes and an interactive online grooming game designed to heighten customer engagement with the Remington brand of shaving products and move young men down the path to purchase. After entering the sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas, young men could create an avatar by choosing from a combination of hair styles and facial hair looks. They got to test their look and best pickup lines on the game’s five female characters—real-life models who were transformed into computer-generated characters such as a fitness instructor, a blonde bombshell and the girl next door.

For example, if a clean-shaven face, short hair and choice of pickup lines didn’t work on the fitness instructor the first time around, the player could try again with a different look and opening line. (And the women didn’t respond randomly: Each female character was given a personality type, and the success of the pickup lines was determined using a Myers-Briggs analysis.) Each avatar could be sent to friends for their input, broadening the reach of the campaign.

“The game provided engaging and personal experience while approaching grooming in an entertaining way to draw them back to the site again and again,” says Heather McLain, account supervisor for PR at EMA’s Sarasota office.

The Sarasota team, led by Patricia Courtois, worked with other EMA offices to develop the Face of Success game. “Public relations included outreach to traditional media and bloggers, a Facebook page updating followers on the sweepstakes, and Twitter posts by the five female characters,” McLain explains.

McLain says the 13-week promotion garnered more attention than Remington’s previous sweepstakes had achieved in six months: 166,251 total entries and 12,747 unique entries. There were 40,000-plus game plays. “And amazingly,” McLain reports, “one person played the game 172 times.”

Cap Brand Marketing

➜ Ollo Olive Oil

Often, a great marketing campaign is a matter of taste. Case in point: Ollo, an Australian olive oil company with its sights set on the U.S. market, but with no distribution at all in this country. “Their marketing director was here in Southwest Florida, and the client wanted an agency nearby,” Sam Stern of Cap Brand Marketing explains.

“Ollo’s value proposition, from their point of view, was that they were the best-tasting premium olive oil in the $10 price range,” says Stern. “The client came in and asked us to taste Ollo vs. other brands in a process that was so similar to a wine tasting it inspired a campaign built on marketing Ollo through tastings.” That led to the notion of a sommelier (which Cap cleverly named an “Olivier”) as a spokesman for the brand.

The agency positioned Ollo as “so good you could drink it,” and the Olivier as an expert on olive oil taste, confirming the brand’s flavor as a powerful and memorable point of difference from competitors. Cap’s integrated campaign included publicity, print, Web design and interactive marketing.   

Cap invited food writers to five-course olive oil dinners with celebrity chefs in various markets. (The Beach Bistro on Anna Maria Island created an olive oil ice cream for dessert.) Major print and TV coverage as well as buzz in social media resulted from the events and demonstrations of olive oil tasting by the Olivier. The bottom line: distribution in 4,000 U.S. supermarkets in just one year.

Knight Marketing

➜ Cleveland Clinic

Advertising is always sharper when driven by a specific business issue, so there are no gimmicks in Knight Marketing’s campaign for the Cleveland Clinic in Broward County. “Just a good, solid, well-conceived marketing strategy,” says agency owner Tracy Knight.  

“Our new campaign had to build the client’s heart surgery volume while addressing the major challenge, which is that South Florida is a fiercely competitive healthcare market that includes Palm Beach and Dade counties. There are 60 hospitals in the region, including 21 in Broward County alone—just imagine,” Knight says.

Cleveland Clinic’s brand awareness was stronger in the Midwest than in South Florida, Knight says, noting that her company initially developed a campaign that increased its name recognition in local surveys in less than a year. Up next was a campaign that leveraged the brand while distinguishing Cleveland Clinic from its local competitors.

“They have an amazing heart program with a winning team of physicians, the latest technology and the research to back up those claims,” Knight says. The new campaign, which broke in February, involves strong messaging integrated across all media, including network and cable TV, radio, print, outdoor and Web, with some direct mail to follow.

TV spots and print ads are presented in three- or four-part statements, Knight says. The unique print presentation runs in a newspaper or magazine as a series of three ads on consecutive pages, culminating in a fourth ad that makes the claim, such as higher survival rates or lower risk of complications.  

“These are strong claims that make a critical difference in heart healthcare, and we support them with statistics on a special Web section we created with all the back-up data,” Knight says.

Grapevine Communications

➜ The Wellness Community

Storytelling has been integral to advertising since the dawn of TV commercials, but Grapevine Communications’ Facebook promotion for the 2010 “Night of Hope” fund raiser for The Wellness Community of Southwest Florida moves the art into the 21st century. 

“Social media is something very different for a nonprofit, and through this campaign we tried a new approach to creating buzz,” says Angela Massaro-Fain, founder and president of Grapevine.

The agency created a virtual Facebook adventure series called “The Linguini Family Goes Legit” to draw a younger demographic. A tongue-in-cheek spoof on Night of Hope co-chairs John and Fran LaCivita (he’s vice president of Willis A. Smith Construction, which is building the Wellness Community’s new Lakewood Ranch headquarters), the crime-comedy story of Johnny  “The Builder” Linguini and his wife, Frances “Legs” Linguini, unfolded on Facebook over several months leading up to the March 19 event.

Both the LaCivitas have survived cancer over the last five years, and the new Wellness Community campus will offer free support for up to 6,000 cancer patients and their families annually in a state-of-the-art healing environment.

“Fran and John are great sports and are having a good time with their ‘Linguini’ characters,” says Tricia Lewis, Grapevine’s media and public relations manager. 

Apparently more than 200 Facebook fans are having fun, too. Grapevine Communications donated its time to The Wellness Community, and expanded the non-profit organization’s reach with the campaign. “By adding the social media component to our publicity program, we attracted new as well as longtime supporters of the annual event,” Massaro-Fain says. 

Grapevine Communications also created direct mail, e-blasts, ads and invitations around the theme. At press time, well before the RSVP deadline, ticket sales had already exceeded 2009 attendance.

Nielubowicz & Associates

➜ Sarasota Exotic Car Fest

As the saying goes, “Ideas are in the air.” But many of today’s best ideas are in cyberspace. It’s fast, cost-effective and especially important for Nielubowicz & Associates when it comes to the agency’s pro bono work for the nonprofit Sarasota Exotic Car Fest.

Jenny Nielubowicz and her son, Chad, have donated advertising, marketing and public relations services for the past three years to the festival, which benefits the Child Protection Center. “With no money to spend and a narrowly targeted audience, the information highway was the medium of choice when it came to promoting the 2010 event,” says Chad.  

The agency designed a new logo to reflect a name change from Ferraris and Exotics on St. Armands and to reinforce Sarasota’s image as a destination for avid car enthusiasts. “We established a bold Web site that showcased all the events,” says Chad. “We then asked the core group of exotic car enthusiasts who are involved in organizing the event to post the event information on exotic car Web forums along with back links to the event’s Web site.

“Essentially you have micro communities of owners who are passionate about their [exotic car] brand and participate in online forums to discuss everything from events to the best place to purchase specialty parts,” he explains. The personal connections made through those online dialogues, along with publicity and a Save the Date piece, led to a 20 percent increase in attendance and 30 percent increase in participating car owners from as far away as Chicago and Texas.

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