As the 60th anniversary of its famous Bundt cake pan approached, Nordic Ware, a company that's still owned and operated by the founding Dalquist family, decided to call upon Kohnstamm Communications for help.
"We haven't worked with a PR firm for 20 years," says Dana Norsten, marketing and communications manager for Nordic Ware. "We wanted to make sure we didn't let anything slip through the cracks."
With 60 million Bundts sold to date and the pan's iconic status, the potential for something bigger became immediately apparent. Nordic Ware and Kohnstamm decided to host a celebration that would revive the brand and drive sales.
Nordic Ware went into the relationship with ideas, but remained flexible and open to suggestions.
"There was a basic outline of what main projects to do," says Norsten. "There were things that were tossed out, but came back in when we found value."
Kohnstamm identified three categories that resonated with the target female consumer: the Bundt's convenience, the ability to create gourmet cakes using the pan, and its nostalgic effect.
"We've heard a lot of fawning over this brand, relating it to the home and the holidays," says Josh Kohnstamm, agency president.
Kohnstamm made its case to Chase's Calendar of Events, which designated November 15 National Bundt Day. The team also devised a nationwide recipe contest, Bundts Across America.
Nordic Ware introduced a 60th anniversary pan at the March 2006 International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago.
To leverage the Bundt's kitsch appeal, 3-D View-Masters with images of the Bundt pan were distributed. Media outreach also took place at the show. Because reporters couldn't accept complimentary cake kits, they were sent to the mothers of reporters upon request.
Other outreach throughout the campaign included baking clubs, retail stores, regional newspapers, and food publications and blogs, which created a viral effect within that niche.
The following month, the Bundts Across America contest was announced.
Kohnstamm contacted The Martha Stewart Show so the contest winner could be revealed on the November 15 National Bundt Day broadcast. Members of the audience were asked to bring their Bundts with them, creating an impressive visual of studio audience members waving their pans.
National Bundt Day has become the kickoff date for the holiday baking season.
The effort reached 124 million consumers through 280 media outlets. Traffic to the company Web site spiked 30% during the campaign. Sales jumped 10% over the previous year.
The client asked Kohnstamm to see if the Smithsonian Institution would be interested in including an early model Bundt pan among its artifacts at the National Museum of American History. The museum is closed for renovation, but information about Nordic Ware, as well as the pan, is being considered for a future exhibit.
"In terms of creating brand equity, you can't get any better than the Smithsonian for a stamp of iconic status," says Kohnstamm.
Nordic Ware has decided to take the campaign in-house this year. It will once again hold the Bundts Across America contest and will celebrate National Bundt Day. Kohnstamm has been nominated for and won a number of PR awards for the campaign.
PR team: Nordic Ware (Minneapolis) and Kohnstamm Communications (St. Paul, MN)
Campaign: National Bundt Day
Duration: November 2005 to November 2006
The National Bundt Day campaign was successful because both the client and its PR firm were willing to adapt. Each listened to new ideas and was willing to expand upon suggestions, opening doors to opportunities beyond the original intent.
Nevertheless, both parties were clear about what the Bundt pan meant to the audience and didn't deviate from that message. The campaign was built upon six decades of real strengths, rather than artificially creating new ones.
The firm gave Nordic Ware a campaign with legs, which can be used in years to come to remind customers just how much they love their Bundts.