ORLANDO, FL: Tupperware Brands Corporation has hired a new PR AOR in Maloney & Fox, ending an 11-year relationship with incumbent DeVries Public Relations.
Four agencies were ultimately shortlisted in the review, but Elinor Steele, VP of global PR for Tupperware Brands (who has been in the PR role for the last six years), said they were impressed with M&F's creative thinking. She said the agency's executives exhibited that thinking during the actual pitch process, including showing up for a meeting wearing '60s bathing caps.
“We are strong believers in PR, and don't even buy advertising media as a general rule,” she said. “So we were looking for a firm that was contemporary, a little edgy and with which we had an immediate connection.”
The caps aimed to demonstrate the agency wasn't afraid to “dive off the high board and take the plunge into the deep end,” explained Margie Fox, partner at M&F. A day or two after that meeting, M&F sent Steele a package that included a bathing cap, nose clip, and four boxes of Nerds candy (with the message that if she can get past the fact that the M&F team are just a bunch of nerds, they were ready to go.) M&F pitched the account in partnership with staff from its parent company, independent firm Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.
DeVries released a statement to PRWeek, but declined to elaborate.
“We enjoyed our more than 10-year collaboration with Tupperware Brands Corporation, and we wish them continued success,” said Jim Allman, CEO, DeVries, an Interpublic Group agency.
The value of the account was not disclosed, but it is substantial given the fact that PR accounts for almost all of Tupperware Brands' marketing spend. In fact, in a third quarter conference call last year, Tupperware CEO and chairman Rick Goings acknowledged, “Here in the US, we are spending quite a bit of money on public relations.”
M&F will be responsible for consumer and business media relations, events, creative-driven campaigns, and social media programs. While some of its PR work will focus on Tupperware's seven beauty and personal care products, the main focus will be the Tupperware brand itself (which currently accounts for about 65% of its sales). “We want to introduce and reintroduce the brand to younger audiences, because it is relevant to all of us,” Fox told PRWeek. “But some of us don't know it as well as we should.”
Some young people still associate the iconic '50s brand with stodgy-looking storage containers, when in fact the company now offers all kinds of kitchen products—including cookware and serving items—that come in groovy designs and colors. “We want to make sure that people don't confuse it with being their mother's or grandmother's Tupperware,” added Fox.
With that in mind, the communications aim to support Tupperware “consultants,” which currently number 2.4 million (mostly women) worldwide. “We've done a lot of different things in the past that have been very successful and some of those we will continue with, and others we plan to change or adapt,” said Steele. “We need to stay relevant and top of mind, and I think M&F have some great ideas.” She said it's too early to talk about specifics, but Tupperware CEO Goings held a one-hour informational meeting in New York with M&F shortly after they won the account in mid-November.
“To me, it speaks volumes that the CEO of this Fortune 500 company spent time to get to know our team and tell us what his vision is for the brand moving forward. There were a lot of things that we had talked about in Orlando, but the meeting [in New York] was like getting a tutorial that is going to help us with our PR plan,” said Fox. “Ultimately, our goal is to surprise and delight in the most unexpected ways.”
In addition to Tupperware Brands' products, M&F will also promote the company's “Chain of Confidence” campaign, which encourages women to celebrate the strength and confidence that comes with female friendships. “We have just stuck our toe into social media with our Chain of Confidence Web site, but we really feel like there's so much more out there that women are looking for in an online community that connects them to other women,” said Steele. “We have a message board where they can post a story or look for a friend, for example, but with technology changing so quickly, we really need to update it and be aggressive with how we offer the buffet of options.”