Amid ongoing efforts to build a more contemporary image, Tupperware and PR firm DeVries Public Relations realized they could leverage the company's past.
"The brand has historically been about women supporting women," says Lisa Pearson, MD of the home and lifestyle division at DeVries. "Tupperware [has a] 60-year heritage of giving women the opportunity to run their own businesses. It was one of the original entrepreneurial businesses for women. We forget how innovative that was."
They created Chain of Confidence, which celebrates female friendships and their role in self-confidence.
The confidence theme originated from speaking to women at a Tupperware convention.
"We asked basic questions, including their favorite thing about working with Tupperware," says Pearson. "More than money or flexibility, women [liked that they] felt more confident from the opportunity to build a business and from validation they got from other women. Confidence is a big motivating force [and] an important platform. [It] is topical, interesting, and emotional to talk about."
Consumer research confirmed that women felt supportive friendships were key to developing confidence.
"We felt we were onto something," says Elinor Steele, director of PR at Tupperware Brands Corp. "[Empowering women] isn't new to us. We're just talking louder now about it."
Messaging focused on Tupperware's support of women and the opportunities it provides them.
Key elements would include a major charity partnership and donation, a respected spokesperson, a consumer call to action, and an online community.
Tupperware pledged to donate $1.5 million over three years to longstanding partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support its SMART Girls program.
Entertainment marketing firm Limelight Media's Wendy Dutwin negotiated a deal that landed Brooke Shields as spokeswoman.
DeVries announced the campaign at a media event in New York. Shields did live interviews, an SMT, and an ANR.
Shields threw a Tupperware party, and proceeds from that and from sales of special-edition Tupperware commuter mugs were donated to SMART Girls.
The team also created an interactive community Web site, www.chainofconfidence.com.
Media targets included national broadcast, celebrity, and mainstream women's outlets.
The effort has helped raise more than $10,000 so far for the SMART girls program.
From May to June, the Web site received 30,000 page views.
"The campaign has exceeded expectations," Steele says. "We feel it has potential outside the Tupperware world. Women love being part of a community, and having an online community is really important."
The effort generated more than 75 million media impressions. Outlets included Today, Extra, The View, USA Today, The New York Times, OK, and TV Guide.
Shields' SMT garnered 36 broadcast interviews in major national markets.
"The joy was in seeing how well this resonates with the media - we couldn't have written it better ourselves," Pearson notes.
The effort will go global next year.
"We want to offer more ways to connect," Steele says. "My dream is that this campaign becomes a real movement."
The agency is working to extend the partnership with Shields, and support of the Boys & Girls Club will continue.
This campaign is testimony to the importance of talking with audiences - internal and external - and of acting on opportunities those interactions reveal.
The team interviewed Tupperware consultants in hopes of finding a spokesperson and uncovered seeds of a campaign with global potential.
It was smart to run with the confidence theme. Women succeeding in business has global appeal. It's a perfect topic around which to build communities. Tupperware is in a position to leverage this into something bigger. However, philanthropic support will likely have to extend beyond the Boys & Girls Club.
PR Team: Tupperware (Orlando, FL) and DeVries Public Relations (New York)
Campaign: Chain of Confidence
Duration: January to August 2007
Budget: $1.1 million