Shopper Innovation Awards: Bayer CropScience brews up a contest

To sell fungicide, the brand targeted wheat, barley, oat and soybean growers, focusing on how bushels become beer.

Bushels2This story appears in the May 2015 issue of strategy.

Gold: Custom Retail

In 2013, Bayer CropScience faced two problems: a shortage of its best-selling plant fungicide, Prosaro, as well as issues with its potential substitute fungicide, Folicur EW.

Folicur EW, which provides disease protection for wheat, barley and oats, had sold well in the past, but new competitors had entered the market and performed the same, if not better, at a cheaper price. Weather and disease has driven an increase in fungicide use over the past decade, with an almost 70% increase in spending in 2012.

Bayer CropScience’s target (wheat, barley, oat and soybean growers) is predominantly male, between 25 and 65 years of age. They’re traditional guys who enjoy going on trips, watching a game and hanging out with their buddies over a few beers.

Using this insight, the company focused on how the target group’s bushels turn into bottles of beer. With the help of MacLaren McCann, it launched the “Bushels to Bottles” contest, which included an all-inclusive trip to San Francisco, tours of North American breweries and Alcatraz prison, a fishing excursion and VIP tickets to a sports event. Retailers that sold the fungicide and growers who purchased the product could enter to win.

The creative was inspired by craft beer packaging, and the promotion was a fully integrated campaign, which included print, radio, online display ads, e-newsletters, as well as a takeover of farming blog Farm Forum, which launched during a key purchase period (May and June). The brand also placed mobile ads on channels such as the Weather Network and targeted retailers with branded kits, which included a list of lapsed customers, a contest window cling for their stores, 200 coasters, as well as branded bottle openers and beer cozies.

Bayer sold 108,000 units of Folicur EW in 2013 – almost twice as much as the product’s previous annual high of 58,000 units. No further market share decline occurred, an accomplishment as the previous year saw a 12% decline. And it saw a 40% increase in website visits in the first week of the contest.


Advertiser: Bayer CropScience
Portfolio manager: Graham Hastie
Marketing communications manager: Derrick Rozdeba
Agency: MacLaren McCann
VP, CD: Mike Meadus
AD: Alex Van Der Breggen
Designer: Andrea Richards
Sr. CW: Noel Blix
CW: Tyler Fraser
Account director: Shannon Wentz