Fuzzoodles Fiesta frenzy hits mommy blogger community

Giddy Up, a children's products and toy division of Elmers, says PR was beneficial in introducing Fuzzoodles, a new type of fuzzy noodle toy that can be used to create characters.

Client: Giddy Up (Ann Arbor, MI)
Agency: Childs Play Communications (New York, NY)
Campaign: Fuzzoodles Fiesta
Duration: June – November 2010
Budget: about $50,000

Giddy Up, a children's products and toy division of Elmers, historically has used TV ads to drive launches. However, marketing director Michelle Manning says PR was more beneficial in introducing Fuzzoodles, a new type of fuzzy noodle toy that can be used to create characters.

“Fuzzoodles represents the creation of a ‘soft construction' toy category,” Manning explains. “When we put it in consumers' hands, they really understood it and loved it –TV ads alone wouldn't get us product champions. PR helps us reach moms directly and build awareness via word of mouth.”

Child's Play Communications, which specializes in reaching moms, helped build a campaign to generate trial and drive sales.

Strategy
Leading mom bloggers and moms who are active in social media were engaged online and through events. Media relations also drove awareness.

Tactics
On August 4, the evening before the BlogHer annual conference, about 100 select mom bloggers and 10 conference sponsors attended a dinner event in New York City. Marie Baker, agency account supervisor and social media director, describes it as an intimate get together where guests networked and experienced the product. Giddy Up also presented its first annual “Bloganthrophy Awards,” which recognize mom bloggers.

A general arts-and-crafts-themed Twitter party was co-hosted with social media marketing consultancy Complicated Media on November 4. Five mom bloggers were sent Fuzzoodles beforehand. During the party, they shared photos of Fuzzoodles creations and had chances to win Fuzzoodles giveaways.

The agency recruited 300 moms to host Fuzzoodles Fiesta sampling parties in their homes during November and December. Each got “party packages,” including Fuzzoodles and execution suggestions. Participants were encouraged to post photos and information about their product experiences to their blogs and social media pages.

The team also regularly posted content to Fuzzoodles' Facebook and Twitter pages, encouraged sharing of Fuzzoodles experiences, and responded to comments.

Parenting and general consumer holiday gift guides were primary media targets.

Results
Manning says forecasted sales were exceeded. November sales increased 108% compared to October, and overall sales increased about 150% since the campaign launched.

Fuzzoodles Fiesta parties attracted about 3,000 guests. Facebook, Twitter, and blog impressions topped 1.5 million. The Twitter party alone generated more than 857,000 impressions. Facebook likes increased from 480 to 629.

Media outlets covering the story included San Diego Family magazine and Univision.

Future
Giddy Up continues to maintain blogger relationships and is preparing for a spring 2012 launch of a new soft construction toy.

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