Target’s striking sheep herd in local coverage



• Best plan for a budget of less than $1 million

• Best use of out-of-home (tie)

• Best plan overall (runner-up)

• Best use of radio (second runner-up)

the background

Sheep, civil disobedience and the promise of a good night’s sleep. Together, these were the unlikely cornerstones of the successful re-branding and re-launch of a small, independent bed store in St. John’s, Nfld.

With a forgettable name like 1st Bedroom Warehouse and a drive-by strip mall location, prospects for this mattress-seller were not entirely favourable. The store desperately needed an injection of freshness and innovation.

The media budget was only $5,000, so unconventional thinking was going to be the hero. The client needed to create instant awareness and generate excitement about buying beds. To accomplish this, the campaign blended unconventional use of media, local celebrities and a group of talented sheep.

Bringing excitement to the task of purchasing a bed would be difficult. Doing it on an extremely limited budget made it even more daunting. Unlike soft drinks or basketball shoes, beds are not something consumers regularly think about buying. Most people purchase a bed very infrequently – once every 10 to 15 years – and usually do so in established national department and furniture stores, rather than unknown, family-owned bed stores.

the plan

1st Bedroom Warehouse received a facelift and was renamed ZZZ The Bed Store. The unusual new name conveyed the essential benefit of purchasing a quality bed – the promise of a good night’s rest (and plenty of ZZZs).

To create excitement about beds and launch the new name, the creative campaign focused on the recent ‘unemployment’ of local sheep, previously ‘employed’ by people unable to get a good night’s sleep. As a result of people buying comfortable beds from ZZZ The Bed Store, the sleep-aid services of the sheep were no longer needed. This prompted a highly publicized ‘sheep strike.’

To stretch the limited budget as much as possible, an unorthodox use of traditional media was recommended.

Five days prior to the grand opening, several 30-second radio spots highlighting unemployed and disgruntled sheep ran on a local station. These spots were complemented by innovative 15-second ‘news bulletins’ which were flighted on an hourly basis three days prior. The ads featured local celebrities and dignitaries, such as the mayor of St. John’s, being interviewed by radio personalities and commenting on the plight of the recently unemployed sheep threatening to strike.

The print plan included three quarter-page ads running in the main body of a local weekly and daily during the week prior to the grand opening, accompanied by three classified ads featuring unemployed sheep seeking new opportunities. As promised in the 15-second radio bulletins, real grazing sheep with placards created a scene outside ZZZ The Bed Store by simulating strike action on the day of the re-opening. The opening was further promoted earlier that same day, when the occupants of every home within a two-kilometer radius of the store woke up with ZZZ The Bed Store doorknockers – fashioned after sleep-reinforcing hotel ‘do not disturb’ signs – hanging on their front doors.

the results

The unconventional week-long media campaign had overwhelming results. A traffic-jam quickly formed on the main throughway in front of ZZZ The Bed Store as people slowed to see the striking sheep. The store received unprecedented traffic on the day of the re-opening and boasted high awareness well after the launch week.

Even more importantly, the client multiplied its media spend several times thanks to coverage on evening TV news programming and in the editorial pages of local newspapers. Innovative thinking formed a dynamic media plan filled with untraditional use of media, all on a shoestring budget. The media gave the creative the biggest and brightest mix of mediums to help successfully revitalize a now well-known and well-established independent bed store.