CAMPAIGNS: Extreme Machine tours in Midwest - Product Launch

Client: American Cyanamid Co. (Parsippany, NJ)

Client: American Cyanamid Co. (Parsippany, NJ)

Client: American Cyanamid Co. (Parsippany, NJ)



PR Team: Miller Meester Public Relations (Minneapolis)



Campaign: ’Extreme Machine Road Tour’



Time Frame: August 1999 to March 2000



Budget: $150,000





In the Midwest, monster trucks draw a crowd. So it’s no surprise

that, to push a longtime client’s new product, Miller Meester Public

Relations thought to build a monster truck of its own - the ’Extreme

Machine,’ to be exact. The campaign was for American Cyanamid Co. and

its new ’Extreme’ herbicide, a chemical that kills weeds in soybean

fields.



Miller Meester took the largest agricultural chemical sprayer on the

market, painted it purple with the Extreme logo and installed a

500-gallon tank containing the herbicide. The machine accompanied the PR

team on a tour of Midwest agricultural supply dealers, soybean growers

and trade shows aimed at introducing the new product. ’Farmers and

dealers all love equipment,’ notes Miller Meester president Greg

Leaf.





Strategy



Leaf says his aim was to promote use of the new herbicide for bulk

purchases by the nation’s soybean farmers during the 2000 growing

season. In the late summer and fall of 1999, the firm sought to lay the

groundwork for the product’s approval by the US Environmental Protection

Agency in November and its rollout in February.



In addition to promoting the product in a media market that caters to

farmers, the agency took advantage of farmers’ enthusiasm for the

Web.



’Farmers use the Internet a great deal to gather information, so we made

a conscious effort to create an Internet component,’ says Leaf.





Tactics



Leaf began his efforts last summer by contacting members of Cyanamid’s

sales network to alert them that the new product and tour were coming;

the mail piece included the Web address, extremecontrol.com.



Miller Meester first set out on a 10-city media tour in the fall,

explaining the new product to editors of farming trade magazines. Then

came the February tour, during which representatives from the company

and agency hit 27 events in 12 days in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and

Minnesota, meeting with agricultural chemical dealers and farmers - in

the shadow of the Extreme Machine. T-shirts with the Extreme logo were

given out to high school students who attended the meetings and

luncheons scheduled at the various stops along the tour.



The official rollout of the product came during the February tour with

an announcement by satellite feed to Orlando, FL, where the Commodity

Classic, a major soybean trade show, was underway.



Miller Meester promoted the tour by sending mailings in January to the

original farm editors it had met with earlier and to targeted dealers,

including several hundred existing Cyanamid customers. Leaf was also

able to approach mainstream media outlets, including daily newspapers

and local television news programs, by playing up the ’Machine’ in the

press releases.



Leaf adds that the company was ’happy to take orders’ at the various

tour stops.





Results



Twenty major trade publications, including Farm Journal, Successful

Farming and Farm Progress, as well as radio and television farm

programs, covered both the fall media tour and the February Machine

tour. Several local newspapers used color photos of the Machine on their

front pages, most with just a cutline and no story, says Leaf. The

efforts received coverage in newspapers with a combined circulation

totaling 206,657. More importantly, the company had hundreds of orders

for Extreme during the Monster tour.



Television stations in Minneapolis-St. Paul used video footage of tour

events in their news coverage.





Future



Though the Extreme promotion has concluded, says Leaf, Miller Meester

plans to continue its relationship with American Cyanamid despite the

July 1 takeover of the chemical company by industrial giant BASF Corp.



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