Guerrilla tactics get Panasonic noticed

Agency/Media Company: Palmer Jarvis DDB Client: Panasonic Canada Brand: Power Activator Batteries Media Team: Sheila Holyer, media supervisor; Anne Myers, media director, Toronto; Linda Mansillo-Kear, account director; Doug Gordon, account co-ordinator Timing: September to December 1999 Best Plan for...

Agency/Media Company: Palmer Jarvis DDB

Client: Panasonic Canada

Brand: Power Activator Batteries

Media Team: Sheila Holyer, media supervisor; Anne Myers, media director, Toronto; Linda Mansillo-Kear, account director; Doug Gordon, account co-ordinator

Timing: September to December 1999

Best Plan for a Budget of Less Than $1 Million: Runner-up

Best Use of Out-of-Home: Runner-up

The Background

With a cynical, hard-to-reach target audience (ages 15 to 22) and heavy advertising from competitors, Panasonic Power Activator Batteries faced some tough challenges. We knew that if we wanted to appear ‘cool’ to our youth target, we couldn’t try to appear cool, or attempt a major sell job – and we also knew that we’d be tuned out if we tried to stage a head-on effort via traditional mass media.

Our solution: a media strategy that employed ‘guerrilla’ tactics aimed at building grassroots awareness within the target’s own environment and culture.

The Plan

The Power Activator (PA) campaign was executed in two phases.

The one-month teaser phase in September was designed to build ‘Street GRPs’ for the PA logo by exposing it – minus product identification – in underground channels. Teaser elements included:

A presence for the brand at dance clubs: Posters depicting blown-out headphones and boom boxes, accompanied only by the PA logo, plastered the walls of dance clubs. The logo was also emblazoned on thousands of t-shirts, hats, stickers and posters, which were distributed at more than 30 events in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. In addition, Power Activator’s sponsorship of popular DJs gave the brand tacit endorsement by these key influencers, lending it legitimacy in the eyes of the target. The DJs – who were already favourably disposed toward Panasonic because of its association with the prized ’1200′ turntable from sister brand Technics – wore PA clothing and lent a hand distributing PA merchandise at the clubs.

Wild postings: The in-club poster creative also appeared on construction hoardings in the general vicinity of the dance clubs.

The second, ‘reveal’ phase of the campaign began in October. It consisted of:

Wild postings: New versions of the posters went up, this time featuring the Panasonic Power Activator brand name and the tagline ‘Extra Strong Batteries.’

Television: An eight-week campaign aired on MuchMusic and MusiquePlus, tied to a month-long cross-promotion with the MuchDance 2000 CD release. (The idea behind the theming was that Power Activator Batteries provided the ‘juice’ for the music on the compilation.) Contest prizing consisted of Panasonic electronic equipment and batteries. Entries were accepted online and via phone, and the winners announced on-air by VJs.

Interactive: A contest micro site was established on the MuchMusic Web site, and stayed up for four weeks. The online effort included feature placement on Much’s ‘Check This Out’ contest page, Flash and non-Flash versions, animated product creative, a link to Panasonic’s home page and an interactive trivia question.

Combined, these various elements added up to an integrated campaign that appealed to the audience on many different levels.

The Results

Among the marketing team, there is consensus that the program produced the desired impact. Sales for fall 1999 were up 136% over the previous year. The MuchMusic promotion generated several hundred online entries on the first day alone, and more than 16,300 in all. What’s more, the micro site averaged a truly outstanding clickthrough rate of 35%.

Also in this report:

* Bates takes the cake p.BMP2

* MaxAir fires on all cylinders: Multi-tiered plan for high-menthol gum was imbued with irreverence p.BMP3

* Dentyne Ice kisses up to teens with party promo: Initiative was designed to drive both brand awareness and sales p.BMP4

* Kool-Aid placement reflected fun, refreshment p.BMP6

* Aussie creates ‘in your face’ presence: Repositions brand as funky, outrageous p.BMP8

* Much VJ follows his Natural Instincts on air p.BMP12

* Chapters stands out in dot-com crowd p.BMP15

* Campbell’s cooks up targeted advertorial: Partners with CTV, magazines to create a presence beyond traditional ad buy p.BMP16

* Looking at Philips through fresh eyes: Redefinition of target market sparked departure from the traditional choice of television p.BMP18

* Jays plan hits home run p.BMP21

* Minute Maid aims for morning ownership p.BMP24

* Western Union a global Villager p.BMP28

* Scotiabank breaks out of the mold p.BMP32

* Clearnet clusters creative: Complementary boards were positioned in proximity to one another to maximize visibility, engage consumer p.BMP38

* The Judges p.BMP43

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group