Paul Holmes 07 May 2001 // 11:00PM GMT
Unipath Diagnostics, makers of the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor approached BSMG with a challenge… how do you garner attention for a product that received significant media coverage upon its recent launch? BSMG elevated the discussion about “having a baby” by enlisting spokespeople with an unmatched passion for the monitor – mothers who used the monitor after years of trying to get pregnant. These “testimommies” were linked with a recognized Ob/Gyn and women’s health expert to discuss the emotional issues surrounding trying to conceive and the unique and wonderful benefits of the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor. The results not only surpassed the quantity of media coverage during the product’s launch, but the quality of the coverage was substantially more compelling.
Generate noise for a product that received significant coverage upon its recent launch.
The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor, the most advanced over-the-counter method for maximizing a woman’s chances of conceiving, was cleared by the FDA and launched with nationwide media coverage and a print ad campaign in March 1999. Still, sales were lackluster. The product’s maker, Unipath Diagnostics, a division of Unilever, enlisted BSMG to find new and compelling ways to tell the ClearPlan story that would increase awareness and move the needle on product sales.
“Reintroduce” ClearPlan to targeted audiences with a multi-faceted program that:
Reinforces key brand equities in a distinctive and memorable way
Involves the consumer with the brand
Links the brand with “success stories” and credible OB/GYN spokesperson
Offers “continuing education” about fertility and conception
Engages the consumer and the media
Create a “voice” and a message that speaks volumes
BSMG’s first step was to enlist a well-known women’s health expert and the (former) medical/health correspondent for “Later Today” to tell the ClearPlan story. BSMG also sought and discovered “ClearPlan Moms” with exciting and inspiring ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor success stories.
The next step was to create a program that effectively combined a consistent media relations effort with larger spikes of activity that maximized the limited budget.
January: BSMG hit the ground running by telling the Millennium Baby story with a ClearPlan spin. Dr. Donnica Moore was teamed up with Debra Guarino, a soon-to-be ClearPlan Mom, who used the monitor to help her conceive after more than a year of trying. In addition to live national cable network Fox News Channel, Dr. Moore and Guarino conducted satellite interviews with stations across the country in markets including Florida, California, Ohio, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, New York and more.
May: With Mother’s Day approaching, BSMG asked the media to “re-conceive” their traditional Mother’s Day story … to shift the focus from flowers and fragrances to the Magic Moments that lead to motherhood – conception. The “ClearPlan Magic Moments Poll” revealed how many Moms can actually even recall the day they conceived their children, what Mom-hopefuls would consider ideal settings for their upcoming “Magic Moments,” and more. In addition to print media coverage including USA Today, Dr. Moore took to the airwaves once again to tell the story on TV interviews from Los Angeles to Florida and on radio interviews from New York to Arizona.
July: In an effort to demonstrate just how many ClearPlan stories there are to tell, BSMG created an intimate forum to discuss an array of fertility focused issues. Key long-lead media were invited to listen and participate with “experts” including women’s health advocates, fertility specialists and ClearPlan moms at a room in one of New York City’s newest hot spots. An intriguing invitation introduced with “Egg + Sperm = Baby… Easy, Right?” resulted in a flurry of calls from interested media. The info-packed session was a resounding success with outlets including Glamour, Jane, Parents, Parenting, Bridal Guide and CBS Healthwatch.com at the table, participating and walking away with a wealth of story ideas.
Ongoing: In addition to the larger program, BSMG conducted consistent and aggressive media outreach to key broadcast and print media. Approaching the story from several angles including business, consumer interest/advocacy, human interest and education/empowerment allowed BSMG to successfully reach out to national network and cable TV and national and local print and broadcast media.
The agency also helped strengthen and exploit relationships with key third parties. For example, Unipath underwrote a fact sheet distributed by the American Infertility Association and worked directly with the Association on media strategy, maximizing the value of a credible third party document, which clearly demonstrated the value of the product. The new fact sheet was well-received by the media resulting in coverage in Reuters, Gannett News Service and on Lifetime TV.
Awareness: The ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor media relations campaign has been a resounding success generating more than 200 million consumer impressions through broad-based media coverage. While the quantity of the coverage has been tremendous with broadcast and print coverage from coast-to-coast, the quality of the coverage is the true hallmark of the program’s success. Some highlights include:
“The View” and “Later Today,” both key outlets for our targeted audience, featured in-depth segments on timing your fertility, mentioning the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor as an important first step for women trying to conceive. (As a matter of fact, “The View” told its viewers about the Fertility Monitor’s benefits twice in a three-month period.)
Discovery Health Channel took an in-depth look at two of the success stories of women who battled infertility for a combined six and a half years, who ultimately found success with the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor.
While CNBC focused on the business side of the fertility market, the segment did not lose sight of the personal side. One of the first ClearPlan babies made her national debut at the close of the piece.
Woman’s World dedicated a two-page spread featuring a ClearPlan mom. The piece chronicled her five-year battle with infertility, which she ultimately overcame with the ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor.
Parade, with the largest circulation of any magazine in the United States, also took the human-interest route and featured a ClearPlan Easy Fertility Monitor success story.
Product Sales: Ongoing PR efforts have significantly moved the needle on product sales. Since the beginning of the media campaign, the number of visits to the Web site, calls to the consumer services line and the number of monitors sold have all increased. For example, sales rose 50 percent the week following a ClearPlan article in Parade. Stadtlander’s Pharmacy, cited in a ClearPlan-focused Woman’s World article, sold out of monitors the week after publication. Overall sales of the Fertility Monitor increased 38 percent in 2000.
Integrated Marketing: Finally, it’s interesting to note that while advertising often drives PR, it worked differently in this case. The ClearPlan mom success stories were so compelling and so effective in PR, they provided the basis for a revamped advertising campaign.