Product Brand Development Campign of the Year 2016

Olson Engage and Skittles signed on Marshawn Lynch for a truly memorable brand press conference.


Olson Engage and Skittles
Marshawn Lynch’s Skittles Press Conference

Recently retired Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has loved Skittles since he was a kid. He became publicly linked with the brand in 2011 when he was filmed eating the candy during a nationally televised game. Skittles signed Lynch to an endorsement deal around Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.

His relationship with media grew contentious. He hates press conferences and had racked up hefty fines for not cooperating with the press.

Skittles had already purchased ad time during the Super Bowl and spent months building a robust program to maximize the investment, but a real opportunity presented itself when the Seahawks ended up advancing to the big game. The Skittles team knew Lynch’s media standoff would likely generate huge attention on Super Bowl Media Day. In less than a week, they came up with the idea for a Skittles Press Conference video in which Lynch would answer all questions the brand threw at him — including irreverent queries.

The video was posted to YouTube on Media Day Eve with no formal press release; though high-profile reporters and outlets were alerted.

"What a creative execution of a moment-in-time opportunity," said a judge. "This was positive repositioning of a controversial situation and PR/content creation at its best."

The video received more than 5 million YouTube views and drove 401 stories (620 million earned impressions, more than half of the 1.19 billion impressions garnered for Skittles’ Super Bowl program, including ad coverage).

Outlets covering the video ranged from Today to Saturday Night Live. The Super Bowl broadcast even opened with a shot of Lynch eating Skittles on the sideline.

Skittles posted the second-highest increase in purchase intent and the highest increase in word-of-mouth chatter of any brand in YouGov BrandIndex’s annual Super Bowl study.

Honorable Mention

Edelman and Church & Dwight/Trojan
Trojan 50 Shades of Real Pleasure: A Parody

Edelman helped Trojan take some risks in capitalizing on the movie Fifty Shades of Grey — and it paid off. The campaign’s centerpiece was a hilarious video showing a couple talking to a therapist about attempts to spice up their sex life. Results on a $400,000 budget for the 10-day campaign included increased product sales; 3.59 million video views; 165 earned stories (428 million impressions); and 70% jumps in website traffic and Twitter followers. "Kudos for dealing with an uncomfortable topic in a humorous and memorable way," one judge said.

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