I was hired as VP of Marketing for Chupa Chups USA to launch the Barcelona headquartered company’s flagship brand in the US. Chupa Chups Lollipops were the number one brand in 26 countries. They had not been able to solidify a presence in the US because of the exorbitant retail distribution and television advertising costs. The family owned business had never experienced trade marketing at the level demanded in the US. And, the costs for television advertising were multiples greater than they had ever spent in other countries. They had historically been able to build the brand organically which would ultimately command a presence at retail.
Towards that end, we targeted teens and young adults launching the brand with a provocative :30 ad virally on the internet, entitled, “Vet” with the tagline “Oral Pleasure”. It quickly caught fire on line and had broad appeal. We also launched a sampling campaign called “Flavor of the Month” among trendsetters and tastemakers. Each month, a specially designed box of 30 lollipops was sent to a list of 300 celebrity stylists, support staff, and influencers. Each month we changed the list, making the trendsetters believe they had been dropped from the list because they had lost their cool factor. We instantly created demand for the brand among this group. We then planted “rumors” online about specific flavors, (i.e. Raspberry is an aphrodisiac, Orange makes your hair grow, etc.). When we started to get calls to validate the rumors, we knew we had captured an audience.
Brand sales began to soar but unfortunately, the family sold the business to Mars for retirement. Family-minded Mars killed the “oral pleasure” strategy and decided not to proceed with the US launch.
If you ever go abroad, be sure to look for Chupa Chups. It’s the best tasting lollipop you will ever have.
Wachovia launched a testimonial campaign entitled, “I’m with Wachovia” to showcase consumers who had superior experiences with the brand. I was challenged to find an African American story to the campaign and given a mailbag of letters to review.
After reading at least 100 letters, I found Ramona Houston. Her story began at an event held a year earlier called “What's in Your Purse?” The event was a financial literacy campaign targeting Black women to help them better manage their expenses by what was in their check book. Her check book was the key to her spending habits, good and bad. Ramona had unsuccessfully attempted to get a mortgage but as a professor at Morehouse College, she was not taken seriously by financial institutions. At the seminar, she met a Wachovia banker who led her to others within the bank who ultimately helped her get a mortgage, establish a retirement savings plan and start a business.
The Ramona ad outscored the other five executions in the campaign on recall, engagement and relevance. Wachovia expanded the media support behind the ad to general market media.
Sara Lee conducted an Attitude & Usage Study and identified that sausage consumption among African Americans was ahead of the general market. The research also identified that there was little brand loyalty across the competitive arena. There was clearly an opportunity to build a brand among Black women. The general market campaign, a quirky comedic making sausage the hero, was getting great accolades and generating sales. Though it was funny and memorable, Black women could not identify with it.
In an African American household, the mom is the hero so we transcreated the general market campaign to drive relevance with Black women. We also chose radio as the media vehicle to reach the mom in the comfort zone of the Steve Harvey Morning Show where we could not only buy media but get also get an invaluable brand endorsement from Steve Harvey. We supported the campaign with sponsorship of Steve Harvey’s Neighborhood Awards adding community outreach to our marketing campaign. After a year in the marketplace, African American purchase frequency increased from 3 times per year to monthly. Additionally, Hillshire outperformed the other brands advertising on the Steve Harvey Morning Show.
Hillshire Farm had the strongest recall of any of the brands advertising on the Steve Harvey Morning Show, twice as strong as the next advertiser.
|Brand||Unaided Recall (%)|
|Five Hour Energy||6.3|