CAMPAIGNS: GP's initiative helps give Brawny brand an eminent facelift

PR Team: Georgia-Pacific (Atlanta) and Edelman (Atlanta) Campaign: Search for The Brawny Man 2002 Time Frame: February through November 2002 Budget: $500,000

PR Team: Georgia-Pacific (Atlanta) and Edelman (Atlanta) Campaign: Search for The Brawny Man 2002 Time Frame: February through November 2002 Budget: $500,000

This is a follow-up to the April 8, 2002 Campaign story "GP seeks a clean start with Brawny" Georgia-Pacific (GP) wanted to resuscitate the Brawny paper-towel brand it bought in 2000. It concluded that the one unique thing Brawny had was its Brawny Man icon. "We were the only icon-based paper towel," recalls Mike Adams, a GP director of marketing. The revitalization effort began with a February exclusive given to The Wall Street Journal discussing GP's thoughts on how to update the Brawny Man. The publicity that story generated convinced the company to continue focusing on the icon. Strategy Working with Edelman, GP wanted to generate local and national publicity for the brand, stimulate product use, and drive traffic to the Brawny Man website. Women ages 18-54 were the target consumer audience, and a wide range of media was also approached. Tactics GP decided to hold a contest that let consumers nominate men they felt had the Brawny Man's essential characteristics - strength, dependability, toughness, and ruggedness, along with all-American clean-cut values, of course. The contest began in May, with the slogan, "Do You Know a Brawny Man?" A Brawny Brigade was formed to visit key US markets to generate interest in the contest. The brigade visited Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York, performing community-service projects and declaring local mayors or fire commissioners "Honorary Brawny Man/ Woman" for a day. Radio was used to direct consumers to locations where the brigade would be in a given city, with women being encouraged to nominate men they knew who embodied the qualities of the Brawny Man. A special press kit was created for the media, which featured a mirror with a missing Brawny Man on its cover. Rolls of Brawny paper towels featuring photos of various celebrities as the Brawny Man were also sent to the media. Contest details were posted at www.brawnyman.com, where votes could be cast. Consumers could also create their own virtual Brawny Man on the site by answering a series of questions. A Brawny Man calendar was created with 12 finalists' photos, and was supported with media outreach in each of the finalists' hometowns. The contest winner was announced in November on The Caroline Rhea Show, a syndicated talk-variety show. Results More than 500 articles were written about the contest and Brawny from May through November, generating about 250 million media impressions, says Adams. Those impressions translated into increased sales. The brand, which had seen sales fall 3%-3.5% a year the past four years, saw a 7% rise in shipments in the past year. Its share of the paper-towel market rose six-tenths of a percent to 11.2%. Household penetration grew 10%. "We achieved the measurement metrics we sought," says Adams. "We were very pleased with the results of the program." Future GP continues to consider other projects it can undertake to generate interest in Brawny. Future PR efforts will be "similar in structure, but creatively different and unique," says Adams. The company continues to contemplate what to do about the Brawny Man icon itself. Some outlets misreported that the company was changing the icon or that the contest winner would become the new Brawny Man icon. The winner will only appear on Brawny packaging this February, after which the current icon will return. "The contest was designed to reawaken the relationship between Brawny and consumers, not to find a new icon," Adams explains. Company research continues on whether and/or how to change the icon.

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