CAMPAIGNS: Ad Extension - Lipton serves up a bit of PR sizzle

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.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in