At the beginning of the year, Procter & Gamble launched a restage of Febreze Fabric Refresher that included new packaging, an upgraded patented odor-elimination formula, and the introduction of ingredient branding (Clenzaire).
However, because this wasn't a completely new product launch, it presented some challenges for MS&L, the AOR for Febreze."It's not really that high of news value to the average consumer," says Renee Yosco, SVP/ director of the New York consumer practice at MS&L.
Febreze asked the agency for a way to make the restaged product newsworthy. The company set out on an integrated marketing plan, and Stephanie Headley, assistant brand manager for Febreze, says PR was an integral element throughout.
Because MS&L knew that the idea of a patented ingredient and new branding would not be immediately interesting to reporters and consumers, Yosco says, the PR team knew it had to come up with a different idea.
"We wouldn't want to deviate from the brand essence of what Febreze is," Yosco says. However, she adds that the TV spots for the campaign possessed a certain quality that the PR team wanted to emulate.
"They're fun, they're kind of quirky, and there usually is a bit of humor to them," she says.
"We wanted to capture that same spirit" in developing a hook for consumers and media.
"We knew there were a lot of challenges," adds Headley. "But we were excited with the creative concept and had high hopes that the holistic nature of the program would pay off."
The PR team decided to make the couch the centerpiece of the effort. MS&L created "Couch Appreciation Month" to encourage consumers to treat their couches better, namely by using Febreze with Clenzaire.
To highlight the "relationship" aspect of the campaign, MS&L hired Samantha Daniels, a nationally known relationship expert, to act as spokeswoman. Daniels was the focus of a nationwide multimarket SMT and also played a part in outreach to broadcast and print journalists, Yosco says.
The PR team developed a website, ilovemycouch.com, which featured a questionnaire titled "What is Your Couch Persona?" that was designed to help consumers identify the type of relationships they have with their couches.
After taking the quiz, which Daniels helped create, consumers received tips from Daniels and Febreze on ways to improve their relationship with their couches. Yosco says this questionnaire was also used to get journalists to visit the site.
Because this was an integrated campaign, Yosco says, a big step was being able to tag the television ads with information about the website. The PR team also developed radio promotions in which local DJs invited callers to share stories about the importance of their couches, while also advertising a sweepstakes on the website.
Couch Appreciation Month drove an average 20% increase in shipments of Febreze from the previous quarter. The website also received 12 million page views during the campaign and increased traffic to Febreze's site four-fold. In addition, the online sweepstakes generated 145,000 entries in 90 days.
Though the campaign was integrated, Yosco says, PR played a big role in the successful results.
"It was different than what they were traditionally doing to sell end products to the store," she says. "There was this whole campaign built around it, and that gives retailers the confidence to know that the product will do well."
Although Couch Appreciation Month was a limited campaign, as Febreze's AOR, MS&L is involved in ongoing efforts to publicize the product.
PR team: MS&L (New York) and Procter & Gamble's Febreze (Cincinnati) Campaign: Couch Appreciation Month Time frame: February to March 2005 Budget: $275,000