Companies create efforts to capitalize on election

NEW YORK: Diverse consumer-facing companies, ranging from Tropicana to Liberty Mutual, sought to tap the excitement running up to the presidential election by creating accompanying PR efforts.

NEW YORK: Diverse consumer-facing companies, ranging from Tropicana to Liberty Mutual, sought to tap the excitement running up to the presidential election by creating accompanying PR efforts.

Liberty Mutual created a real-time, election-focused event, turning New York City's Rockefeller Plaza into Election Plaza on November 4.

In partnership with NBC, the company hung red and blue banners on the GE building to represent how the votes were tabulating and handed out scorecards for consumers to count independently.

“Election coverage has been part of our media strategy throughout the year,” said John Cusolito, VP and PR manager at Liberty Mutual. “We're aligning our brand with the responsibility of voting. It's one of the biggest privileges and responsibilities we have.”

Other companies, such as Tropicana and Baskin-Robbins have created online efforts tapping into consumer enthusiasm for the candidates and the election.

Tropicana launched a Twitter-based campaign on Election Day at anorangeamerica.com that analyzed Tweets based on buzzwords attributed to the candidates. The company also set up its own Twitter account at Twitter.com/AnOrangeAmerica. “We wanted to engage consumers in a meaningful and relevant way that added real value,” wrote Jamie Stein, communications director for Tropicana, in an e-mail.

Baskin-Robbins created the interactive effort, “The Flavor Debate '08,” where it promoted the limited edition flavors, John McCain-themed Straight Talk Crunch and Barack Obama-themed Whirl of Change.

The company provided in-store and online polling sites to gauge which presidential candidate would be elected, with Whirl of Change winning with a 2% lead when the competition ended on October 20, said Dave Nagel, Baskin-Robbins director of brand excitement.

“Baskin-Robbins and [AOR] Schneider Associates created The Flavor Debate '08... to capture the excitement of this important election year,” Nagel said, via e-mail.

About 500,000 people voted for their preferred flavor. Outreach included daily updates on “flavor-ite” candidates on Twitter and Facebook, where more users “became a fan” of the brand.

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