Dentyne Ice kisses up to teens with party promo

Agency/Media Company: Bates Canada Client: Warner-Lambert Canada (Adams Brands) Brand: Dentyne Ice Media Team: Lynn Mayer, vice-president, director of planning; Cheryl Fryer, media supervisor Timing: April 26, 1999 to December 31, 1999 Best Plan for a Budget of Less...

Agency/Media Company: Bates Canada

Client: Warner-Lambert Canada (Adams Brands)

Brand: Dentyne Ice

Media Team: Lynn Mayer, vice-president, director of planning; Cheryl Fryer, media supervisor

Timing: April 26, 1999 to December 31, 1999

Best Plan for a Budget of Less Than $1 Million

Best Use of Radio

Best Plan Overall: Runner-up

Best Use of Television: Runner-up

Best Use of Interactive Media: Runner-up

Best Use of Newspaper: Second Runner-up

The Background

In the spring of 1999, romance was in the air. Dentyne Ice – a gum that, for teenagers and young adults, has become the coolest way to freshen your breath for romantic possibilities – was poised to launch its most ambitious and integrated consumer promotion ever.

A multi-tiered initiative, this promotion was designed to drive both brand awareness and sales, while further entrenching brand loyalty with the core target. Seamless, integrated communication via carefully selected media vehicles and promotional partners was key to its success.

Given the fickle and elusive nature of the audience, it was critical to understand how and where they spend their time, and which communication vehicles were available to reach them in the most high-impact and meaningful ways throughout their day. Inspired by Bates Canada’s ‘be where they are’ approach, Dentyne Ice enticed consumers to ‘Kiss & Tell’ – to explain, in 35 words or less, what they did to land their dream guy or girl. The prize? A chance to groove to a secret band at an ‘underground’ party.

To pull off this ambitious effort, Dentyne Ice turned to a trio of indispensable communications partners: MuchMusic, MusiquePlus and HMV.

The Plan

Building rapid awareness of the contest was a key objective. During the four-week promotional window, spots produced by MuchMusic/MusiquePlus aired at high frequency, supplemented with VJ chatter. Regular brand-sell spots also ran on both networks, to further entrench Dentyne Ice with the core target.

Speaker’s Corner video booths helped to reinforce the concept of ‘kissing and telling,’ and provided an interactive mode of entry. Eight booths, co-branded with Dentyne Ice and MuchMusic/MusiquePlus, were placed in HMV stores over the course of an eight-week, 12-city national tour. The involvement of HMV, arguably the pre-eminent music retailer in this country, served to complement the partnership with Canada’s music stations, added relevance to the ‘underground party’ prize and helped extend the ‘Kiss & Tell’ communication to a venue where the target audience spends considerable time and money.

In an effort to further leverage HMV’s in-store environment, ‘Kiss & Tell’ posters were displayed prominently, and rack cards placed in the vicinity of the ‘secret’ band’s CDs. In addition, Dentyne Ice postcards featuring details of the promotion were stuffed into shoppers’ bags.

MuchMusic/MusiquePlus brought even more to the promotion with the creation of a ‘Kiss & Tell’ micro site. This site offered consumers another interactive point of entry, along with a full description of the contest and its rules and regulations. To entice consumers to keep returning to the site, the best entries were posted on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the promotion. And it was on the micro site where the identity of the secret band was first revealed: Wide Mouth Mason.

By the time the 10 grand prize winners were finally announced, during the live broadcast of the MuchMusic Video Awards on Sept. 23, excitement had grown to a fever pitch. Real footage from the Speaker’s Corner video booths had been used to refresh the promotional spots on a weekly basis, and to provide inspiration to those who had not yet entered. In addition, a crawl was superimposed on the brand-sell spots to force tuning to the Video Awards. Dentyne Ice virtually owned this latter property, by virtue of the 12 spots that ran throughout the broadcast, on both the English and French networks.

Local market communications directed to the 15-24 age group supplemented the MuchMusic/ MusiquePlus/HMV efforts. To heighten awareness and create a sense of urgency, four-week radio flights were purchased in the 12 cities where the ‘Kiss & Tell’ video booths toured. Individual promotions were negotiated with the primary teen/young adult station in each market, offering listeners the chance to win two tickets to the ‘Kiss & Tell’ underground party.

In addition, urban weeklies in 11 of the 12 markets carried small-space teasers, followed by a page-dominant, four-colour ad communicating the promotional concept and details, and listing the HMV tour locations and dates.

A final, critical communications element was the pack itself. More than 22 million packs of Dentyne Ice carried the distinctive ‘Kiss & Tell’ contest logo, along with the MuchMusic/MusiquePlus logos and contest details. In addition, the pack highlighted a 1-877 line that consumers could call for HMV tour dates, and directed them to the micro site for complete contest details.

The Results

The ‘Kiss & Tell’ promotion proved highly successful in driving awareness and usage. Continuous tracking showed a 10% increase in unaided brand awareness, and a 13% increase in past-four-week brand usage. The promotion was a major contributor to the brand’s double-digit growth in sales over the previous year.

In all, nearly 15,000 consumers shared their romantic stories – and more than 70% of them entered either through the Speaker’s Corner video booths or via the micro site. The 10 winners, each of whom was permitted to bring nine close friends, were flown to Toronto, where they enjoyed an exclusive bash at the Reverb with Wide Mouth Mason. As for whether there were romantic goings-on at the party – well, no one was kissing and telling.

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

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

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

* Guerrilla tactics get Panasonic noticed: Campaign used underground channels to reach club crowd p.BMP10

* 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