Sergeant's was confident its product had the elements for success, and paired with Swanson Russell Associates (SRA) to launch a campaign as revolutionary as the product itself.
Enter the Flea, Tick and Mosquito Liberation Organization (FTMLO), a fictitious fringe group created by SRA, Sergeant's AOR, to aggressively protest the new product and generate media buzz, says SRA PR manager Jennifer Windrum.
The group's creation - and its five-phase national "protest" - allowed the brand to control its key messages, as well as display a shrewd sense of humor.
Through PR Newswire releases, the FTMLO announced its formation and protest plans in the month leading up to the Global Pet Expo. SRA distributed press kits to influentials in the pet industry with surveillance video of FTMLO "activists" breaking into Sergeant's offices and liberating bugs.
At the Expo, FTMLO members disrupted Sergeant's press conference and urged supporters to destroy the company's "cruel" new substance, sign anti-SGFTSD petitions, and visit www.ftmlo.org. Additionally, SRA executed a "New Pet Innovations" SMT with celebrity pet trainer Andrea Arden.
The outcome included hits on the Today show, MSNBC, and more than 800 pet-related Web sites, blogs, and user-generated video sites. Also, "millions of doses of the new product were sold as a result," according to Sergeant's president, Bob Scharf.
SRA continues to work with Sergeant's on various campaigns, including a new cause-marketing effort.
PR Team: Sergeant's Pet Care Products and Swanson Russell Associates (both Omaha, NE)
Campaign: Sergeant's Gold and Tick Squeeze-On for Dogs
Duration: January-May 2007