Celebrity spokesperson leads to success for Essure

When reality show celebrity Trista Sutter ("The Bachelorette" and "Dancing with the Stars") publicly announced she would have her tubes tied after her second child's birth in April 2009, Conceptus and AOR Loomis Group approached her with information about Essure, the company's permanent birth control device.

Client: Conceptus (Mountain View, CA)
Agency: Loomis Group (San Francisco)
Campaign: Essure & Trista Sutter
Duration: April – September 2009
Budget:
$75,000

When reality show celebrity Trista Sutter (The Bachelorette and Dancing with the Stars) publicly announced she would have her tubes tied after her second child's birth in April 2009, Conceptus and AOR Loomis Group approached her with information about Essure, the company's permanent birth control device. Sutter decided Essure was right for her and became spokesperson, giving Conceptus a valuable opportunity to raise awareness and educate consumers.

“Birth control is a bit of a taboo subject,” explains Tracey Moses, VP of consumer marketing at Conceptus. “People don't chat publicly about it, and doctors don't have a lot of time to educate women. Traditionally, medical devices don't do DTC marketing. The challenge is letting women know they have options.”

Strategy
The team planned to leverage Sutter's celebrity and experience with Essure to pique media and blogger interest in covering the topic and the procedure.

“We were excited, because she's so approachable, and she could open doors for us,” explains Dabney Oliver, VP of PR at Loomis Group.

Tactics
A press release was issued pre- and post-procedure. Targets included TV, print, radio, and online outlets that focused on entertainment, health, or mom and women's topics.

Oliver says messaging focused on Sutter's decision-making process and the procedure. She conducted an SMT with a doctor, and B-roll was also distributed.

Moses explains that the team didn't heavily push the brand's Web site or tailor it for the campaign, but Sutter mentioned it in interviews. A newsletter, focused on Sutter's experience, was sent to women who signed up on the site for more information.

Sutter also used her own Twitter account to spread the campaign's message.

Results
Net sales in Q2 and Q3 both increased by 29% (to $33 million and $34.2 million, respectively). Moses expects to end 2009 up about 25% overall in procedures performed compared with 2008.

Compared with the same months in 2008, Web site traffic doubled in April when the first campaign press release was issued, and it increased by 75% in August when the second release was issued. Good Day LA coverage the week of September 4 resulted in a site traffic spike of 88% over the previous week.

The campaign yielded more than 80 million impressions in outlets such as Extra, Access Hollywood, Us Weekly, Good Day LA, People.com, and momlogic.com.

Moses is very pleased with results, and notes that Conceptus' sales team and doctors reported that women visited health providers for more information about Essure because they had heard Sutter's story.

Future
The agency will continue to help Conceptus (currently a one-product company) educate and raise awareness of Essure.

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