Client: Snuggle Fabric Softener, Greenwich, CT
Agency: Cairns & Associates, New York City
Campaign: National Bedtime Story Month
Time Frame: Mid-2000 through April 2001
Budget: Under $400,000
Crafting a campaign that lets a branding message shine without
over-commercializing the purpose of the initiative is a challenge.
Snuggle wanted to alert parents to the benefits of reading to their
kids, but realized that it wasn't all that simple. Literate in creating
public-service campaigns for high-profile brands, NY-based Cairns &
Associates came in to help Snuggle spread the word on the benefits of
reading to children, as well as promote the Snuggle brand.
Snuggle execs had long been interested in the issue of literacy, and it
was Cairns who came up with the idea of Snuggle National Bedtime Story
Month and lined up the National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) as the
appropriate partner. Snuggle helped solidify the support with a $200,000 donation.
Cairns and Snuggle were vigilant in making sure the primary message
centered on the importance of reading to kids, and not fabric softener.
"National Bedtime Story Month and the affiliation with the NCFL allowed
the Snuggle brand to reach its consumers in a strategic, non-commercial
manner," notes Snuggle brand manager Matt Smith. "Successful PR
campaigns connect the core values of the brand to a cause that resonates
with its target audience."
Cairns worked to sanitize the press materials to take out most of the
commercial references. "It offered sound counsel to parents on how to
make bedtime reading rich and meaningful," says agency founder and
president Anne Marie Cairns.
Cairns enlisted the participation of high-profile celebrities - most
notably spokesperson Jane Seymour - to provide the glamorous hook that
further triggered interest among journalists. Cheryl Tiegs, Christie
Brinkley, Holly Robinson Peete, and Kim Alexis also joined the effort at
no cost to tout the joys and benefits of reading to children on a
With April set as National Bedtime Story Month, Cairns began reaching
out to parenting outlets in November 2000 with a presentation kit that
provided not just evidence from pediatricians and psychologists on the
benefits of reading to children, but also advice on how to create the
right environment and reading ritual. The kit also included a list of
top children's books.
As April drew near, Cairns began setting up interviews and an SMT with
Seymour and NCFL president Sharon Darling. The agency also produced a
b-roll, and set up a radio interview tour with 15 stations around the
The month kicked off with an event at New York's Children's Museum of
Manhattan (attended by Seymour, Alexis, and others), which aired as a
live web-cast on www.snuggletime. com. The agency also helped with six
other celebrity pajama/bedtime reading events around the country during
Cairns ensured that not only was the National Bedtime Story Month logo -
which features the Snuggle name and bear icon - included in the
coverage, but that the snuggletime.com URL was present as well. Cairns
explains, "On the site, Snuggle then had the opportunity to sell the
brand a little more intensely."
Snuggle National Bedtime Story Month ended up being the type of "good
news" service story that generates massive coverage, including The New
York Times, The Philadelphia Daily News, the Boston Herald, and
magazines like Family Circle, Parenting, and Baby Talk. TV exposure
included Seymour appearances on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The O'Reilly
Factor, and Fox & Friends, while launch-event attendee Kelly Ripa touted
the initiative on Live with Regis & Kelly. The b-roll aired on numerous
stations across the country, including CNN Headline News.
The snuggletime.com website received more than three million hits in the
month of April alone.
Cairns is already working with Snuggle on a similar program for next
year. "We're calling it Snuggle Up and Read Month because we want to
extend the opportunity to read out loud to your kids beyond bedtime,"
says Cairns. "Once again, we'll focus on the benefits you can give your
kids by reading to them."