New flavors secret ingredient in latest Duncan Hines frostings

The results are outstanding. Giving consumers an opportunity to really drive awareness certainly paid off for Duncan Hines and its new Frosting Creations.

Client
Duncan Hines (Parsippany, NJ)
Agency

rbb PR (Coral Gables, FL)
Campaign

Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Launch
Duration

February 1 to June 1
Budget

About $400,000

Duncan Hines and AOR rbb Public Relations engaged consumers both online and off to drive trial, advocacy, and sales of its new Frosting Creations, a unique line of 12 unusual flavors such as bubble gum that mix into an unflavored base.

"Consumers in this category are incredibly involved and passionate," explains Andy Reichgut, Duncan Hines' SVP of marketing.

"It allows them to customize and express their creativity, and it inspired them to bake in ways that they could not before."

Strategy
Product sampling opportunities were presented to consumers, media, and bloggers. "Trial was so important because it is a new product that works differently and offers a lot more opportunity for bakers," explains rbb Public Relations EVP Tina Elmowitz.

Audiences were encouraged to share experiences on their social media channels and on Duncan Hines' owned online channels.

"The idea was to let this passionate group of baking consumers drive it," Reichgut says. "We wanted them to experience it and give them a platform to drive advocacy and word of mouth."

Tactics
In mid-January a call to register on Duncanhines.com to win a chance to try Frosting Creations before the February public launch was issued to Duncan Hines' Facebook audience and its Baker's Club members.

Elmowitz says 7,000 registered within a few hours.

Five hundred "VIBs" (Very Important Bakers) were randomly chosen to receive product kits that included tips for sharing experiences online.

Food, baking, and general consumer media and baking bloggers were targeted. About 100 got product samples in briefcases labeled "Baker's Top Secret Weapon" just ahead of launch.

Chef Joseph DiPaolo, who was involved in product development, conducted demos for 10 New York City editors. Partner agency House Party identified baking enthusiasts who are active online and called for registration to host parties for about 10 to 15 friends the last weekend in March and 30,000 people registered.

The client supplied 1,000 with product, branded aprons, signs, games, and resources for sharing information online. All registrants got free trial coupons.

A recipe challenge ran from March to April online. Consumers submitting an original recipe and photo on DuncanHines.com were eligible to win a visit to the test kitchen in early June and develop additional recipes.

Duncan Hines' chefs chose 12 winners (one for each flavor). Three baking bloggers also attended the event.

Results
"Sales are exceeding expectations, and it's significantly more incremental to both the Duncan Hines brand and to the category in general than we expected," Reichgut says.

"For Easter week, it was the fastest-selling frosting in that category. It's still one of the best, if not the fastest-selling frosting."

The campaign drove 92,885 product trials, 405,000 new Facebook likes, 45,000 new Baker's Club members, and 155 traditional and blog stories (699 million impressions) in outlets such as Newsday.com and Hungry-Girl.com.

The VIB program drew 21,000 registrants. Nearly 13,000 participated in the house parties, and 325 original recipes were submitted. From February to June, Duncanhines.com traffic was up 20% compared to 2011.

Future 
The team will promote the launch of four new seasonal limited-edition flavors this fall.

PRWeek's View
The results are outstanding. Giving consumers an opportunity to really drive awareness certainly paid off for Duncan Hines and its new Frosting Creations. There was nice alignment between developing a product that provides increased creative opportunity for consumers and using public relations to encourage them to do that and then share their experiences. This campaign is also a good example of how to successfully integrate and execute online and offline efforts to strengthen existing relationships and establish new ones.

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