The integrated marketing initiative, a one-year, multifaceted campaign, will include outreach to online, broadcast, trade, and consumer media; product placement; and a guerilla marketing tactic involving "urban plantings." The effort, targeting both boomers and 18- to 36-year-olds, is currently in the initial planning and outreach phases.
"The idea was to get the new product out the door efficiently and communicate with trade media [in the process]," explained Sean-Patrick Hillman, EVP at Corbin and PR partner at sister advertising firm Hillman & Partners.
Corbin is currently negotiating with officials for empty spaces in five cities to do plantings of various botanics that are common to actual healing gardens, such as lavender plants and chamomile.
The objective is to create relaxing environments for visitors that will also generate media buzz.
The agency plans to invite local media to garden launch events in each city.
Steven Scheyer, president and CEO of Ascendia Brands, explained that the challenge was repositioning a brand with reasonably good awareness.
"Coty really invented the specialty brand category, what it was about historically," he explained. "The positioning wasn't necessarily off-market, but in need of rejuvenation.
"We wanted to reinforce the tagline 'Nourish your skin and sooth your soul,' making it more about peace and finding this tranquil peace in chaotic life," added Scheyer. "That was key to the positioning, making it more psychological and holistic."
The two have been working on The Healing Garden's Web site relaunch. "We're working with them in terms of what feels and looks best from a consumer perspective," said Hillman.
Other efforts include radio giveaways and sample mailings to consumer press, including heavy outreach to news weeklies.
Corbin plans to send more samples around the holidays to ensure product placement in the first quarter of 2009.
"We're expecting rejuvenation. For us, [The Healing Garden] is a core strategic brand, so the expectation would be that people are gravitating to it," said Scheyer.
"PR would become viral and maybe get incremental placements by someone picking it up and saying, 'Hey, did you see this?' Good PR will drive more PR."
Ascendia acquired The Healing Garden and Calgon, another bath brand, from Coty in 2007 for $125 million. Ascendia's other existing bath brands include Lander, Mr. Bubbles, and Lander Kids.