Client: Lipton Foods (Englewood Cliffs, NJ)
PR Team: Neale-May & Partners (New York)
Campaign: "When You Cook, You're a Family"
Time Frame: January - April 2001
Budget: dollars 500,000
Looking to grab the attention of busy working mothers, Lipton launched a
dollars 25 million TV and print ad campaign for its Sizzle & Stir
meal-in-a-box product. The company hired Neale-May & Partners to extend
the campaign's reach.
To learn more about families, Neale-May sponsored a survey of working
moms conducted by Bernett Research of Roxbury, MA. Results showed that
mothers rank dinner as the most important family activity.
The agency wanted to capitalize on the celebrities of the advertising
campaign - Loni Anderson and Mr. T play parents to "typical kids" Mary
Lou Retton and George Hamilton. The humor and quirkiness of the "family"
and their tongue-in-cheek performance of a dinner with rushed parents
and bickering siblings lent itself well to PR support.
Mr. T and Mary Lou Retton (in their trademark mohawk and warm-ups,
respectively) would appear at a benefit for a New York food bank at
Planet Hollywood to position Lipton as a "company that cares."
The PR effort was crafted in different ways to reach different
"We turned it into an advertising business story, then a lifestyle-trend
story," says Neale-May's Lisa Levy, who serves as director on the Lipton
Neale-May sold Adweek and Brandweek on the uniqueness of the ads, while
the celebrity angle was directed at outlets such as People and USA
The team fanned media interest by releasing the survey to the major
dailies, wire services, women's magazines and the Today Show.
The team persistently called the Today Show. Although the top-rated
morning program was running the spot, it "is traditionally skittish
about being too commercial," Levy says. Producers finally relented and
Alicia Rockmore, marketing director for Lipton Mealmakers, appeared on
the show (along with Mr. T and Mary Lou) for nearly eight minutes.
During the target week, Mr. T and Mary Lou Retton took part in more than
50 interviews, 25 of which were sent out in a satellite media tour. The
two were greeted at Planet Hollywood by 1,000 fans and press
The commercial was flashed across four large screens in the
The celebrities then retreated to the kitchen to demonstrate Sizzle &
Stir, which Entertainment Tonight filmed and ran that night.
The PR campaign generated more than 70 million media impressions.
Coverage included People, USA Today, the New York Times, the Wall Street
Journal, Self and the Howard Stern show. The Associated Press and
Reuters also disseminated the story. Entertainment Tonight and Today
Show segments were major.
In addition, Lipton donated enough Sizzle & Stir to feed 18,000 visitors
to the food bank.
Levy says the firm hopes for more business from Lipton.