Client: Kraft Confections
PR Team: Coyne PR
Campaign: The Hole Truth survey
Time Frame: Summer 2001
Budget: under $250,000
Do you suck or bite?
That was the question that got the whole thing started.
Or rather, the Hole thing, as in the Hole Truth Survey. But rather than
start in the center, it's worth beginning - in a roundabout way - with
the sweet part of Coyne PR's idea for client Life Savers.
To get people across all demographics talking about 90-year-old Life
Savers candy, the brand needed to make news. "We were looking to have
Life Savers positioned as a fun brand that people associate with whimsy
and enjoying themselves," says Tom Coyne, president of Coyne PR, which
works with the Kraft Confections division, the home of Life Savers
candies. "They wanted to contemporize the brand. It's an American icon,
and we wanted to remind the American public how great it really is."
The goal was to raise top-of-mind awareness by reminding people of the
joy of eating Life Savers. The brand was banking on an upcoming contest
to increase sales, so Coyne PR created the Hole Truth Survey to generate
buzz by getting people's jaws working, and talking about the candy with
the hole in the middle.
Coyne PR commissioned and promoted a national survey on Life Savers.
People were asked whether they suck or bite their candies, their
favorite flavors, and other demographic questions. By presenting results
by city (Bostonians like Wint-O-Green Life Savers, while the rest of the
country prefers cherry), by eating habits (nine out of 10 Chicagoans
said they suck their Life Savers), and even by political party
(Republicans are more likely than Democrats to share), the agency was
able to serve up bite-size mouthfuls of candy-coated news to both
national and local media outlets. "(The survey) touched up on our Life
Savers truisms, things we have always known - that emotional connection
the consumer has with the product," says Elisabeth Wenner, manager of
communications for Kraft Confections.
Reporters and editors were sent media kits with survey results, along
with free samples of Life Savers candies. Beginning the week that the
news broke, five staffers pitched the story for two weeks straight.
A team of three continued with follow-up calls for another month. Coyne
says that the main complaint of the agency executives making the
follow-up calls was reporters trying to speak while sucking on Life
The results of the Hole Truth Survey broke in Newsweek, two Associated
Press stories, and in USA Today. From there, the agency hit local
markets' print media outlets. Coyne PR sent a package without b-roll to
TV stations in the top 20 markets, and 12 markets had one or two
affiliates create their own stories. The overall program earned 98
million media impressions with 1,008 media placements, including the
National Examiner, The Indianapolis Star, and The Cincinnati Post.
Coyne PR also sent a package to the top 100 morning radio drive-time
shows. Of the 45 that used the information, results ranged from talking
about the survey, to DJs holding a Life Savers suck-off to find out who
could finish one first. Coyne praises the radio time as some of the best
buzz coverage won by the campaign: "The survey really caught on on the
radio, which is good, because radio chatter is very important."
The agency has expanded its work with Kraft Confections, which Coyne
attributes partially to the success of the Life Savers campaign. "We
showed that we could produce strategic results that were sustainable,"
he says. "That was very well received with the client."