Downy Promo, Case study DOWNY, MIKE & MACY'S by Digitas Boston

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Industry Washing powders & Detergents
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Digitas Boston
Producer Jerry Izzo
PR DeVries Public Pelations
Released August 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Best Integrated Campaign Led by PR
Advertiser: PROCTER & GAMBLE
Executive Vice President: Rebecca Dickson (DeVries Public Relations)
Senior Vice President, Strategy and Creative: Adrianna Giuliani (DeVries Public Relations)
Vice President: Jillian Kwolek (DeVries Public Relations)
Senior Account Executive: Alyson Mazzarelli (DeVries Public Relations)
Account Executive: Kamari Guthrie (DeVries Public Relations)
Junior Account Executive: Jessica Greco (DeVries Public Relations)
Vice President/Director: Amy Snelling (Digitas)
Vice President/Director Creative: Pete Tschudy (Digitas)
Producer: Jerry Izzo (Digitas)
Senior Account Executive: Tracy Durocher (Gigunda)
Production Manager: Steve Hall (Gigunda)
Marketing Director, Downy: Mary Pochobradsky (Procter & Gamble)
Brand Manager, Downy: Marty Vanderstelt (Procter & Gamble)
Assistant Brand Manager, Downy: Tatiana Quaife (Procter & Gamble)
External Relations Manager, North America Fabric Care: Sarah Pasquinucci (Procter & Gamble)
Senior Account Executive: Candice Georgi (Fleischman-Hillard)
Director, National Events & Partnerships: Max Felder (Macy's)
Media Relations: Orlando Veras (Macy's)
Senior Director of Marketing and Development: Ron Sears (National Sleep Foundation)
Marketing and Communications Manager: Jennifer Cowher Williams (National Sleep Foundation)
Media placement: Associated Press Exclusive (Traditional Media) - Associated Press And Hundreds Of Additional News Sites (E.g. Wall Street Journal - Jan.21.2011
Media placement: Mashable Exclusive (Social Media) - Mashable And Additional Pick Up On News Sites (E.g. Yahoo News, ECTimes, Technew - Jan.21.2011
Media placement: Pre-Seed Video Of Mike Birbiglia Discussing Stunt/B-Roll Feed - Includes The Daily Buzz, YouTube, MetaCafe, Daily Motion - Jan.21.2011
Media placement: News Release - Includes Examiner, Market Watch, Daily Life, Wall Street Journal - Jan.26.2011
Media placement: News Conference - Includes LX New York, New York Daily News, Drugstore News, HAPPI, NPR, WNBC-TV - Jan.26.2011
Media placement: Regional Radio Promotions - WLIT-TV (Chicago), KIOI-TV (San Francisco), KODA-TV (Houston), WLYF (Miami) - Jan.24-Jan.28.2011
Media placement: “Mike In The Window” Stunt (Included Elements Of The Weeklong Stunt Such As Cele - Includes Metro New York, AOL Shelter Pop, Gawker, The Huffington Post, Good Day - Jan.26-Feb.1.2011
Media placement: Post-Stunt Media Interviews - Bob & Tom Show, Mancow Mueller Show, WCPO-TV, Etc. - Feb.1.2011
Summary of the Campaign
Create an unexpected, relevant story for Downy Fabric Softener’s Clean Sheet Week Challenge.
Drive engagement, credibility and emotional attachment for the Downy brand and its promise: making your sheets smell fresh for seven days.
To add the benefit of a more comfortable night’s rest to the brand’s promise of freshness, we decided to boldly dramatize Ultra Downy April Fresh’s efficacy while fuelling social interaction between Downy and consumers. We conceived an unexpected, highly visible week-long stunt featuring Mike Birbiglia - a sleep-challenged comedian with a strong social following.
Insight from a National Sleep Foundation partnership poll inspired a partnership with Macy’s, the world’s largest department store, to display "Mike in Window" - a transparent event in Macy’s Herald Square window featuring sleep-challenged comedian, Mike Birbiglia - living and sleeping on Downy-treated sheets for seven days. Mike interacted with fans all week long via live streaming Facebook feeds, impulsive content and provocative, hilarious conversations on Twitter.
"Mike in Window" increased Downy’s Facebook likes by almost 200 percent, gained 17,000 Twitter followers, earned eight million YouTube views and ultimately garnered more than 550 million media impressions.
The Situation
Downy Fabric Softener has been bringing a touch of comfort and softness to consumers’ clothing and household linens for decades. In 2011 it was time to freshen things up. The brand launched the Clean Sheet Week Challenge in January 2011 to promote Ultra Downy April Fresh’s improved freshness formula and inspire fabric-softener skeptics to experience how Ultra Downy maintains the long-lasting freshness of just-washed sheets for an entire week. Our problem: how to get people to pay attention to, much less care about or talk about fabric softener?
The Goal
Our goals were to concretely increase the brand’s presence across social media, create engaging news that would be shared virally, and generate authentic interest (and broad media coverage) for Downy, while educating people about the tangible relationship between freshness and achieving a more comfortable night’s rest. We wanted to galvanize people – especially non-believers and non-users – to buy the product and take the Downy Clean Sheet Week Challenge. We partnered with the National Sleep Foundation to poll consumers about the impact of fresh bedding and scent in the bedroom and found seven of ten people claim to get a more comfortable night's rest on sheets with a fresh scent.
The Strategy
Our strategy was to create unexpected, irreverent news to capture the public’s attention before, during and after the Clean Sheet Week Challenge, and inspire them to share conversations though social media.
So, we leveraged a relatable personality with a logical connection to the emotional benefit of a more comfortable night’s rest (and a built-in social media presence): Mike Birbiglia, comedian and author of "Sleepwalk With Me", a book and play about the hilarious, yet frightening aspects of his sleep disorder.
We used Mike’s "average Joe" understanding of fabric softener to simultaneously educate him - and the public - about how Downy benefits the average American consumer. We partnered with the world’s largest department store - Macy’s - during its Home Sale to tie the challenge more strongly to the idea of fresh, clean sheets. And then we put Mike taking the Challenge on display in their window.
• National Sleep Foundation poll insight inspired Downy’s partnership with Macy’s to display "Mike in Window" - an event in Macy’s Herald Square window featuring sleep-challenged Mike Birbiglia - living and sleeping on Downy-treated sheets for seven days during the January 2011 Home Sale
• Announced "Mike in Window" via Associated Press exclusive and kicked-off with live press event in New York City (during major snowstorm!)
• Enabled Mike to interact with fans via live streaming Facebook feeds, impulsive interaction with people on the street, and provocative, hilarious Twitter conversations
• Remained flexible all week to maximize entertainment and social/viral opportunities based on digital and live audiences’ reaction to both planned and impromptu activities
• Heightened local, national and online awareness via targeted outreach with an exclusive story on Mashable and coverage on outlets
• Macy’s partnership enabled us to drive trial through 600,000 free Downy samples in 650 stores with sheet purchase.
Documented Results
"Mike in Window" was a success across all objectives, especially social and traditional media goals. Downy Facebook "likes" increased by almost 200%, the brand’s Twitter followers increased from 0 to over 17,000, the Downy YouTube channel earned more than eight million views, and more than 10,000 consumers connected with Mike via Facebook.
In only two weeks the program garnered more than 550 million media impressions worldwide. Major news outlets, including ABC, NBC, NPR, the Huffington Post, Bloomberg Business Week, New York Daily News, The Insider and Yahoo! carried and followed the story during the week, as did hundreds of blogs across the home, lifestyle, and entertainment categories.
Consumer engagement was off the charts, provoking reactions such as "surreal" and "priceless." American Public Media’s Marketplace said, "Thanks to him and his sleep problems, Downy's social media presence has taken off overnight" and the program broke several internal P&G records.