Born Free differentiates from competition with savvy PR

Born Free launched BPA- and PVC-free baby-feeding products in the late 1990s.

Client: Born Free (Woonsocket, RI)
Agency: Hollywood Public Relations (Scituate Harbor, MA)
Campaign: Colic Awareness Month
Duration: October 2012 - March 2013
Budget: about $88,000

Born Free first launched BPA- and PVC-free baby-feeding products in the late 1990s. The point of differentiation was a competitive edge until use of the chemicals became obsolete in recent years.

AOR Hollywood Public Relations got March declared Colic Awareness Month in Chase's Calendar of Events last year and ran a campaign around it this year that highlighted Born Free products' ability to reduce colic symptoms.

“As the feeding category has grown we've been spending a lot of time, energy, and focus [ensuring] we are top of mind for consumers and PR is one of the best ways to do that,” explains Born Free's senior director of brand development Laura Monaghan. “We supported the agency's idea to declare March as Colic Awareness Month because [our patented technology that helps reduce colic symptoms] is a point of differentiation for our products.” 

Strategy
Agency VP Courtney Curzi says it was important to get Colic Awareness Month declared in early 2012 so critical long-lead parenting publications would be aware of it this year.

Results of a Clarity Research survey of new and expecting moms provided content for media and blogger outreach, Born Free's main website, and a Colic Awareness microsite.

TV personality Guiliana Rancic, a mom who uses Born Free products, was enlisted as spokesperson. Her involvement was announced at a March 14 Los Angeles event hosted by Big City Moms.

Social media events and outreach also drove awareness.

Tactics
The agency began outreach to parenting journalists late last year.

Parenting bloggers got Born Free gift sets in exchange for coverage and links to Born Free's online properties.

A Colic Awareness microsite features survey results, educational content, and tips provided by pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, who also provided content for Facebook and Twitter posts.

Entertainment outlets were alerted to the Big City Moms event. Rancic appeared in Born Free's booth, signed autographs, posed for pictures, and gave interviews. She also posted multiple tweets about the campaign.

A sweepstakes giving away $150 worth of products was hosted on Born Free's Facebook page throughout March. The team also worked with vendor DropGifts to give away 300 Born Free bottles on Facebook in less than one minute on March 20. 

Results
Monaghan reports double-digit sales increases from mid-February through March compared to the six weeks prior.

More than 40 placements were earned in outlets such as People.com, Celebrity Baby Scoop, and Working Mother.

Nearly 7,150 new Facebook likes were garnered January to March. The March 20 giveaway drove 5,542 new likes.

Twitter followers increased by more than 100% between February and March. 

Five hundred new and expectant moms were reached directly at the Big City Moms event.

Future
Rancic will continue promoting the brand. The team is preparing for new product launches later this year.

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