Case Study: Philips Lighting
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Case Study: Phillips Lighting
Collateral publicity for the "Find Phil" promotion

Design a public relations program to provide collateral publicity for Philips' "Find Phil" sweepstakes; support the attempt to increase sales, market share and name recognition. 

Mid-winter is a dead sales period for light bulbs. Philips secured an official endorsement from the Punxsutawney, PA, Chamber of Commerce, sponsors of "Punxsutawney Phil," the groundhog who forecasts the arrival of Spring. For the new promotional campaign, Philips would produce special light bulbs that would cast a shadow of a "groundhog" when screwed in. Bulbs were "seeded" across the country, and the campaign was supported by a coordinated effort of advertising, marketing and public relations. Customers who had purchased a winning bulb could receive up to $33,000. 

The Berry Ecke Associates Approach Some Highlights

National Publicity: We scheduled a series of press conferences in various cities to introduce the consumer campaign. A steady flow of press releases, dedicated press kits and media relations activities was directed at both the consumer and trade media. 

National Sales Support: We produced a complete promotional guide, distributed to Philips' national sales force, outlining ways they could involve their customers in starting the promotion. 

Community Relations: We suggested that Philips relamp the Punxsutawney Public Library and offer other local assistance to establish good community relations; we were especially sensitive to avoid overpowering a small community. We employed an educational consultant, and produced a "February Fun With Phil" classroom activity kit, distributed to the entire Punxsutawney school district. The kit taught language skills, word recognition, reading comprehension, scientific principles and codes — all focused on the local custom of Groundhog Day. 

New Jersey Name Recognition: We commissioned a special production of a groundhog weepul (a fuzzy promotional animal, used at trade shows as a give-away), and took advantage of Groundhog Day coinciding with the annual "Train Trip to Washington" sponsored by the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, to bring business people together with the state's elected representatives. We published a special issue of the "Groundhog Gazette" — political spoof newspaper filled with fun blurbs and quotes about candidates vying to be Governor in the upcoming election. On the train trip, we handed out 2,000 of the "groundhogs" and put a Gazette on every train seat. In Washington, President Bush was keynote speaker at the Chamber of Commerce dinner. We gave Barbara Bush samples of the weepul groundhogs for her grandchildren. (She wore one on her shoulder at the head table in front of the national press corps.) 

TV Morning Shows: We sent samples of both our groundhog and the Groundhog Gazette, T-shirts and promotional literature to the weather forecasters at all the networks.

"Phil" was worn by the CBS meteorologist on his Groundhog Day broadcast. The creativity of the promotion generated significant newspaper coverage. Among the 1800 New Jersey business executives, Philips' "Phil" was a main topic of discussion, and the Gazette was heavily quoted during the train trip. Philips officials, new to the Chamber, received hearty welcomes and praise for their ingenuity and a congratulatory telegram from the Executive Director of the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce was read at the Washington dinner by the Chairman of the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce. New Jersey Public Television included the promotion in a short clip from the dinner. In Punxsutawney, Philips officials were greeted as heroes — no national firm had ever paid as much attention to them. The local newspaper published a half-page photo feature prominently naming Philips Lighting as the firm contributing new lights to the library. The $33,000 national contest winner in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, generated publicity both in-state and nationwide. 

Nationally, Philips unit sales increased 10 percent as a result of the campaign, at a time when the industry sales decreased 5 percent and rival GE dropped off 14 percent. In city after city across the country, Philips' market share increased. Client representatives told us they couldn't have been happier with the results of the promotion. 

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