In late 1999, Dean Foods retained Dome Communications Inc (Dome) to strategically plan the launch of its newest product, Dips-For-One, the first individually packaged, portable chip and veggie dip that allows consumers to enjoy the great taste of Dean’s dips at any place and at any time. Dome, which was selected for its proven experience in successful integration, worked closely with Dean’s advertising agency, Euro RSCG Tatham, to design a fully integrated $200,000 marketing communications program that was deeply rooted in the brand’s advertising strategy. As Dips-For-One carries a fun, exciting and youthful brand positioning, Dome made the decision to leverage the new product’s advertising tagline, “Where Do You Dip?” and model a multi-faceted program accordingly that included strong trade and consumer media relations elements and a national sampling component.
Dome’s challenges included:
- A limited budget to achieve major, national reach/results
- Another “convenience packaging” innovation, which was a two-year old story in the eyes of the media
Upon receiving the project, Dome quickly sought insights into chip/veggie dip usage, learning that 33% of potato chips are eaten away from the home and the most common complement to chips is a refrigerated dip—which would become a key message for the program. Working with partners such as the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dome researched the American diet and current, relevant eating trends. Separately, a part of the program entailed a mobile marketing unit for which Dome worked with city officials or private organizations in key markets to identify high-profile locations that its primary target, on-the-go families, would be found on summer weekends.
Dome’s objectives in creating the marketing communications plan for Dips-For-One were two-fold (1) generate industry awareness surrounding the national trade introduction in order to excite the sales force and distributors and aid sell-in; (2) generate excitement, interest and awareness around the new convenience-based product among consumers nationwide.
In order to ensure a successful sell-in of Dips-For-One to the grocery stores, Dome presented the plan to the Dips-For-One sales force/distributors during key sales meetings. These presentations, which included a mock contest entry booth during meeting breaks, were designed to generate excitement among the sales force and provide them with thorough information about the upcoming consumer outreach program.
As for the national consumer product launch, Dome strategically chose to tie the announcement to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Show—the largest national food marketing show, which attracts a captive media audience from around the world. In order to differentiate Dean’s news from that of thousands of competitors, Dome packaged a story in conjunction with the USDA’s move to increase the recommended number of vegetables Americans eat per day.
In order to extend coverage beyond the launch, Dome introduced the “Where Do You Dip?” National Photo Contest. The “Where Do You Dip?” contest used the advertising tagline, which features consumers from all walks of life showing “where they dip” with their portable Dips-For-One, and turned the question into a consumer challenge to demonstrate the most outlandish and creative place they dip with Dips-For-One. Consumers had the option of entering the contest at a traveling Dips-For-One mobile, through the dipsforone.com Web site or by mail. The contest winner would receive the opportunity to be the face behind the next Dips-For-One advertisement, creating media opportunities at the launch and completion of the contest.
Partnering with USDA’s announcement, Dome “unveiled” Dips-For-One in the national spotlight during the FMI Show. With the understanding that the Associated Press story often leads FMI’s national coverage, including the coveted national broadcast show roundup, the agency’s strategy was to obtain the wire’s interest at the beginning of the show. Based on strategic advance pitching, Dome secured an AP story as planned, which spurred widespread national interest, including placements on CBS Evening News, CBS Saturday Morning and finally, a CBS network feed. Well-edited b-roll footage and executive media training, which Dome had managed in advance, became imperative in these days of heightened awareness for the brand.
Once the national launch plan had been executed, the agency hit the road with the “Where Do You Dip?” National Photo Contest. Traveling to eight key markets, the “Where Do You Dip?” Mobile set up shop in family-oriented settings on summer weekends where its target audience, on-the-go families, would be found, such as festivals, beaches and water parks. The agency negotiated with city officials and private business owners to obtain on-site rights and promoted all events among local media through pre-, day-of and post-event outreach through which press kits, customized for each city, were sent out to select media outlets prior to the Mobile’s arrival. Events featured give-away items for contest participants, including product samples, a free copy of their entry photo, a branded magnetic frame (designed to post the Polaroid photo on refrigerator, at the point of snacking) and a coupon to drive future purchases.
Dome also facilitated the design and development of consumer Web site: www.dipsforone.com. This Web site served as a vehicle for consumers to enter the contest and to view entries received at the “Where Do You Dip?” Mobile. At the completion of the contest, the Web site was changed to notify visitors that a winner had been selected and to stay tuned for the winner’s unveiling.
In early September, Dome began the winner selection process in conjunction with Dean Foods and Euro RSCG Tatham. After collectively identifying the grand prizewinner, a six-year old boy from St. Louis, Dome implemented a final media relations campaign targeting select national, St. Louis and Chicago media. The press release touted the winner and his once-in-a-lifetime experience in a professional advertising production shoot. The effort resulted in a media tour that garnered broadcast interviews throughout Chicago and St. Louis, including in-studio morning-show interviews on St. Louis’s three major networks, all with prominent product placement.
Success of the Dips-For-One program was dependent on two major factors: (1) the number of media impressions that were generated on trade, national and local levels; (2) the caliber of media placements received. Initially given a client goal of 100 million total impressions, Dome was pleased to have met and exceeded that number with 112 million consumers reached and an overall CPM of $1.78, far lower than industry standards.
Total Trade Impressions: 3,601,000
Total National Impressions: 108,841,000
Total Media Impressions: 112, 442,000
Total consumers reached: 222,700
Total Dips-For-One Sampled: 17,000
Total Program Impressions: 112,672,357
Additionally, while not permitted to release sales figures, Dean Foods has attributed the successful Dips-For-One market performance and the overall growth of the Dairy Case Dips (DCD) category to the integrated marketing communication efforts.