Danone hits the cold streets

Danone Canada declared war on colds this winter to promote its DanActive probiotic drink, currently only available in Quebec. Its primary weapon: 268,000 samples distributed at the start of the cold season.

Danone Canada declared war on colds this winter to promote its DanActive probiotic drink, currently only available in Quebec. Its primary weapon: 268,000 samples distributed at the start of the cold season.

The sampling was aimed at women aged 35 to 55 and handed out on the chilly streets of Montreal, Quebec City, Rimouski, Gatineau, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières and Saguenay.

‘It’s a new product category, drinkable probiotics, and there’s not a great deal of education,’ says Calvin Hwang, marketing director for Danone Canada. ‘As far as traditional mass media tools go, it’s a complicated message, and there are restrictions on what can be claimed. So [sampling] was a great way to engage the consumer, provide them with a taste of the product and interrupt their routine.’

Street reps wore T-shirts bearing the message ‘OUI à des défenses naturelles fortes’ (‘YES to strong natural defences’) and handed out leaflets and coupons. Some also wore a five-foot billboard called a ‘posterman’ developed by Danone national AOR P2P Proximité Marketing of Montreal, which handled the street activities.

‘Consumers who need an immunity boost are typically very stressed out, and have a very hectic lifestyle, which is why we targeted metro areas with large congregations of busy commuters going to and from work,’ says Hwang, adding that coupon redemption met targets and qualitative response to the campaign was positive. ‘It was very much a fit for us.’

The street activities were part of a campaign that also included branding TV spots by Y&R’s Montreal office, as well as PR by Enzyme Communication Marketing, also of Montreal, and in-store education and demos executed by a range of local agencies. Danone partnered with Astral Media to sponsor morning weather and traffic reports on the RockDétente and Énergie radio networks in all markets, with announcers directing listeners to sampling locations. In Montreal, Danone partnered with Metro newspapers to distribute samples with the morning paper.

Hwang could not comment on a possible rollout into English Canada at press time. www.danactive.com