Objective: Russ Berrie and Co. will introduce consumers to its new plush toy line, SeaPals, a part of its Applause brand, on July 2, at Ripley's Aquariums in Myrtle Beach, SC, and Gatlinburg, TN. "We... tried to find a place conducive to the brand and what it stood for, such as educating [consumers] on the environment specifically related to marine life and the ocean," said Jeff Bialosky, EVP of sales and marketing at Russ.
Idea: The toys come with online alter egos that allow kids to log on to a virtual world where their plush toy - a reef shark, manta ray, blue lobster, etc. - plays in an online aquarium. The online component includes educational games and opportunities to interact with other players. The "SeaPals Day" at each of the aquariums was created to reflect these different dimensions of the product through an experiential event, said Melissa Fogarty Winston, management supervisor for Russ' AOR, Litzky PR. The team will provide maps and passports to the kids, who then travel to the different stations where they receive stickers, educational materials, and can enter a raffle.
Tools: The SeaPals Day is a key point of promotion, to inspire excitement and word-of-mouth marketing, Bialosky said. The events will be promoted through outreach to local media, and Ripley's local venues' will publicize Web sites and posters a few days before the event. In addition, the product's Web site went live June 17, and direct outreach to retailers, zoos, and aquariums is also underway.
Measurement: The success of the launch will be measured by the number of participants and how many products are sold.
Organization: Russ Berrie and Co.
Campaign: Launch of SeaPals
PR Team: Litzky Public Relations
Launch: July 2