America's Store Brand Infant Formulas
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America's Store Brand Infant Formulas

PBM Products asked CreatAbility to generate national Hispanic media coverage for launch efforts in the U.S. Hispanic market. They selected Lili Estefan, the popular hostess on the entertainment magazine formatted show, El Gordo y la Flaca, to represent t

Paul Holmes

PBM Products asked CreatAbility to generate national Hispanic media coverage for launch efforts in the U.S. Hispanic market.  CreatAbility and PBM Products selected Lili Estefan, the popular hostess on the entertainment magazine formatted show, El Gordo y la Flaca, from the leading Hispanic television network Univsion, to represent the national Hispanic campaign as spokesperson for America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas.

Estefan, herself a new mother, was selected to educate Hispanic mothers on how to prepare infant formula and how to save money when purchasing the formula.  The hostess also educated mothers on how to properly mix and heat the formula and on the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation and control over infant formula in the United States.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR CREATABILITY

CreatAbility faced considerable challenges in introducing America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas to the Hispanic market.  Brands like Similac and Enfamil are widely perceived by Hispanic mothers as the leading brands, offering superior nutritional content.  Additionally, physicians are called on by salespersons and receive samples from these companies, which they often make available to new mothers.

Hispanic mothers view these brands as tried and true infant-formulas. CreatAbility’s challenge was to dispel the myth that buying anything other than these brands amounted to short-changing one’s baby.  But along with this challenge came the opportunity to advance a unique selling proposition (mothers can obtain the same nutrition for their babies from America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas, as they can from the leading brands, and save up to 40 percent) while helping to educate Hispanic moms about infant nutrition.

RESEARCH, PLANNING AND OBJECTIVES

Using research conducted by the department of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that mothers who use WIC coupons to buy infant formula often dilute their formula and/or substitute with cow’s milk which is harmful to babies in order to save, since WIC only provides coupons for 3 weeks worth of formula, the agency focused its efforts on educating Hispanic mothers and driving home the message that there exists a more affordable alternative to the leading formula brands. 

The campaign’s objective was to obtain media coverage and secure media impressions for America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas that would generate brand awareness and educate Hispanic mothers about the low cost alternative to the national brands.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

CreatAbility’s strategic approach was to introduce the product through a combination of public service announcements and sales pitches.  The public relations campaign was complemented by an aggressive advertising effort, including 7 unique TV spots, a print advertising campaign and a direct mail campaign.  One TV spot, for example, provided a demonstration of how to properly dilute formula.  

Working with the theme that good nutrition can be affordable, CreatAbility created communications materials including releases, bios, Q & A’s and fact sheets to familiarize the Hispanic market with America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas.  The agency developed media pitching strategies.  

Ø      Education was a big component of the overall chosen strategy:
Ø      Educating Hispanic mothers on how to save when purchasing infant formula
Ø      Educating Hispanic mothers on how to properly mix, heat and prepare infant formula
Ø      Informing Hispanic mothers that breast milk is almost always better for infants but cost saving alternatives exist when breast feeding is not an option

Key Hispanic media outlets in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston were provided information on America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas.

CAMPAIGN EXECUTION

The campaign’s execution involved a series of steps:

Ø      Identifying and negotiating with spokesperson, Lili Estefan
Ø      Educating spokesperson about product benefits and converting her into a store brand customer
Ø      Development of U.S. Hispanic media target list
Ø      Distribution of media release in Spanish to all selected U.S. Hispanic media outlets
Ø      Designing and assembling media kit for distribution to media outlets
Ø      Coordination of interviews for spokesperson with media outlets in Miami, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles
Ø      Development of story angles to pitch to writers and editors at national media outlets
Ø      Online news bureau service for America’s Store Brand Infant Formulas
Ø      Monitoring media outlets and editorial calendars
Ø      Following up launch efforts with a proactive approach toward ongoing media relations including print, radio and broadcast media channels
Ø      Retrieving all TV, radio, on-line and print clippings

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

The campaign ran from October to December 2000.  While the impact on sales is still being tabulated, we recently learned that there has been an increase in sales in the Hispanic market when compared to the general market.  

Quantitative and qualitative media analysis show 2.9 million media impressions; 1.1 million readers were exposed to the brand and 65,000 radio listeners.  Approximately 90 percent of the media coverage generated by CreatAbility’s pitching efforts and the use of Lili Estefan as spokesperson produced large features that included pictures of Estefan.
Producers of the Univision Network’s national morning show, Despierta America, showed strong interest in having Estefan co-host the show and speak to Hispanic mothers on the use of infant formula.  Strong interest was also indicated by Chicago’s Radio Unica, which recorded a 3-minute interview with Estefan.

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