Paul Holmes 22 May 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
How do you get consumers and the media excited about laminate flooring? Invite them to kick up their heels on it. Literally. M Booth & Associates created a buzz for Pergo, Inc. by creating “Step Up to the Pergo Challenge,” a program that included a “swinging” editor event and a “Challenge” Kit daring editors to destroy our client’s product. Who would have thought laminate flooring could be so much fun?
Pergo Inc. revolutionized the U.S. flooring industry in 1994 by introducing laminates, the great impostor in home decorating: flooring that simulates hardwoods like oak, maple and cherry, but offers greater decorating options and worry-free maintenance. Until then, carpet manufacturers dominated the $14 billion U.S. flooring marketing and accounted for 76% of all flooring sales. In just six years, Pergo not only introduced an entirely new flooring category, they also became the best-known brand in the entire flooring category. At 42%, Pergo continues to hold the largest market share in the laminate category, more than twice the share of its closest competitor.
Today, the company’s key challenge is to strengthen its foundation as a leader with an influx of strong laminate competitors – including established flooring brand names like Armstrong, Mannington and Bruce – which not only spend money in advertising but also have great distribution, retail clout and brand name recognition. This increase in competitive activity created the need for public relations to support Pergo’s marketing initiatives.
Consumer research reveals that the key purchase criteria of flooring includes enduring beauty, durability, ease of maintenance and affordability. What’s more, consumers view vinyl as unattractive, yet durable and affordable; hardwoods, stones and tile are viewed as beautiful, but expensive, and hard to care for. Even though consumers can readily identify deficiencies with all other types of flooring, they had learned to accept them.
Attractive – but “livable” – homes are very important to Pergo consumers. They are motivated to investigate products that will make their home attractive and interesting, but they are busy with work and family and have little time to spend taking care of a “showplace.” During the program planning process, M Booth set out to transform an “unglamorous” product (laminate flooring) into a home decorating option.
The program objectives:
- Build consumer and media awareness of new Pergo Select and Pergo Presto
- Reinforce Pergo’s position as the world’s leading marketer and manufacturer of high quality laminate flooring
- Strengthen belief in Pergo product claims
M Booth floored the media with a strategy that showcased Pergo’s new product offerings and provided editors with hands-on experience and proof of Pergo’s superior performance. Program elements included:
Darling, I’m Going to Floor You Editor Event: Lypsinka, the hip, downtown performance artist/actor, kicked off the editor event with a slightly irreverent presentation on the joys of Pergo laminates. Additionally, the editors had a chance to see and “test” Pergo’s durability by learning some of the hottest swing dance steps, on a Pergo-installed floor, from the Big Apple’s finest swing dancers. The event attracted 30+ top-tier editors from major outlets, including Home, House Beautiful, Metropolitan Home and The New York Times.
Pergo Walk All Over Us Challenge Kit: An education kit that “challenged” home and lifestyle editors to put Pergo’s durability to the test. The kit contained some of the toughest “scratch” (scouring pad) and “stain makers” (merlot wine and red nail polish) found in America’s households.
Pergo News Bureau provides continuous visibility for the brand and reinforces Pergo’s reputation as an innovative, industry leader.
In eight months, M Booth’s “Step Up to the Pergo Challenge” produced millions of consumer and trade media impressions, including feature stories in The New York Times, House Beautiful, Washington Post, Boston Globe, San Francisco Examiner, Denver Post and Portland Oregonian, among others, plus three syndicated articles. Trade publicity includes multiple placements in key industry outlets from Floor Covering Weekly and Floor Covering News to Floor Focus and Laminating Design and Technology.