PRWeek Awards - Consumer Launch Campaign of the Year

Winner

Freeman Public Relations and Fisher-Price Friends: Launch of TMX Elmo

The newest incarnation of the Tickle Me Elmo doll, TMX Elmo, was always...

Winner

Freeman Public Relations and Fisher-Price Friends: Launch of TMX Elmo

The newest incarnation of the Tickle Me Elmo doll, TMX Elmo, was always going to be an attention-grabber. It was the job of Fisher-Price and Freeman Public Relations (FPR) to create the biggest toy sensation in years for the 10th anniversary of the original giggle machine.

With goals of revitalizing the struggling toy industry, jumpstarting the Sesame Street brand, and generating media coverage for the Elmo brand, FPR had to take innovative measures. It created a nine-month-long teaser campaign requiring absolute secrecy amongst people who knew about the product.

The PR team had to keep the toy a secret until September 19, 2006, when it was debuted on Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer opening a safe with the TMX Elmo inside. Teasers included television commercials that did not include the toy and a voice recording of the giggling Elmo character.

FPR was able to secure prime media placements without revealing the product to the reporters through a mock unveil of the toy at Toy Fair 2006 that February. At the event, FPR met with reporters to “not talk about” the TMX Elmo, generating buzz at the show itself and a centerfold piece in USA Today.

FPR and Fisher-Price worked with individual retailers – Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, and KB Toys – to coordinate Reveal Day events at the top retail outlets in New York City. First-day sales of the toy exceeded first-week expectations by hundreds of thousands and the team had to be on hand to explain product shortages at retail.

The View conducted an online charity auction of the TMX Elmo and became the first show to give away the doll to its entire studio audience. The b-roll footage that was developed has generated an audience of more than 27 million and was also distributed internationally.

As a result of the Hispanic outreach efforts, the TMX Elmo was featured on Telemundo and Univision. The Spanish-language version of the b-roll generated audience numbers of nearly 9 million.

One judge said, “The media requires information. Using secrecy was savvy.”

Another judge praised the campaign because of its “360-degree use of different elements, the outstanding business results, and the great concept.”

Honorable Mention

Manning Selvage & Lee and Philips Norelco: Creating Buzzzz for Philips Norelco Bodygroom – Product and Web

In an effort to gain optimum awareness for its client’s new product, Phillips Norelco Bodygroom, Manning Selvage & Lee took on the task of debunking the stereotypes associated with male grooming below the belt and used creative methods to attract media attention from consumer magazines that would appeal to men between the pages of 18 and 54, such as a demonstration on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio. The PR team took the Bodygroom to the Sundance Film Festival, where they invited celebrities to shave a kiwi, demonstrating the Bodygroom’s effectiveness for shaving delicate areas. In showing the product’s effectiveness in giving men that extra optical inch, MS&L exceeded its goal of sales over 150,000, 100,000 unique visitors to the campaign Web site, and 100 million media impressions. “[It was an] excellent use of humor to pique interest,” said one judge, “Super-ingenious, across the board.”

Finalists 2007



  • CKPR and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare: Quitters Can be Winners: The NicoretteFruit Chill Million Challenge

  • Fleishman-Hillard and Papa John’s: Papa John’s Challenges Armchair Quarterbacks to “GO DEEP”

  • Freeman Public Relations and Fisher-Price Friends: Launch of TMX Elmo

  • Manning Selvage & Lee and Philips Norelco: Creating Buzzzz for Philips Norelco Bodygroom – Product and Web

  • Steve & Barry’s and The Mastermind Group: $14.98 Starbury One Basketball Sneaker


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