Mystic Tan, which services more than 4,000 international salons with spray-on, sunless tanning booths and supplies, is no stranger to product placement.
But in March, with the help of Blanchard Schaefer Advertising and Public Relations (BSAPR), the nine-year-old company saw its big Hollywood break via a starring role on MTV's The Real World: Key West. A Mystic Tan franchise served as the housemates' workplace for the series' entire 17th season.
BSAPR originally pitched The Real World "in hopes we would get a Mystic Tan booth to be on the set," says Lynaia Lutes, account supervisor at the firm. The brand tended to skew in the 30-to-50 age range, Lutes explains, and wanted to expose itself to a younger demographic. "What we ended up with was... far beyond product placement," she notes.
In incorporating Mystic Tan into The Real World, the brand's VP of product development Ricky Croft was positioned as a series regular, as the cast members' workplace manager. In addition, BSAPR crafted a complementary campaign, including a new Mystic Tan Web site, consumer e-store, MySpace page, and a blog updated by Croft after each episode. The client also hosted several tanning-industry and franchise promotional events, each featuring Croft and other The Real World cast members.
The business impact has been substantial, Croft notes. Web hits have escalated, and younger consumers are making Mystic Tan a part of their cosmetic routines. The results have led existing customers to purchase more equipment, he says, and "validate to [new customers] that it is a valid product and purchase, a nationally recognized method of tanning."
When Croft isn't basking in his newfound fame, he and BSAPR will continue to develop relationships with production companies and broadcast outlets.
PR team: Mystic Tan (Dallas) and Blanchard Schaefer Advertising & Public Relations (Arlington, TX)
Campaign: Mystic Tan integration on MTV's The Real World: Key West
Duration: February-August 2006