By Matt Smith
When I started this column in January of last year, my goal was to find and promote all the good work being created by agencies and their clients in our community, including work created by my competitors. Well, today’s column is a perfect example of that objective.
First, a little history. About a year or so ago, my agency was in a knock-down, drag-out pitch against Bethesda, MD-based RP3 for the Giant Foods account. To make a long story short, we lost and they won. It was painful, because my team gave it their all. I think someone must have known someone, because it could not possibly have been because they were better than we were (OK, just kidding). However, it was truly a tough, bitter loss. And yes, we have won some from them as well. So all is fair in love and advertising.
Anyway, I recently saw RP3’s new activation with Giant that focuses on a limited edition, honey nut cereal called Ovi O’s based on a partnership with the NHL’s Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. This effort is so cool that it brought back all the pain of losing the pitch in the first place. The owned/earned media strategy is smart and fun—it consists primarily of a few Instagram posts as well as a short video, all featuring Ovechkin and his famous, toothless grin, of course. You can check the work out here and on the agency’s Sept. 17 Instagram feed.
This activation works on too many levels to count. To begin with, branding a generic product is a great idea, and an entirely new way to approach such products. It’s also super local, tying Giant—a regional grocery retailer—with the region’s NHL team and its most popular player. And the PR from it way out performs any paid media. There is also a local charitable element included—a portion of proceeds from the sale of Ovi O’s will go to the Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., a Maryland-based non-profit.
In my mind, an owned and earned media activation like this blows away TV, radio and other paid media with awareness and brand loyalty. I believe this idea and approach represents the future of marketing. I can visualize local fire departments developing and branding a hot sauce with some proceeds going to local fire departments.
It’s a wonderful creative platform for a range of local products, services, and businesses. Congratulations to the RP3 gang and Giant’s team for breaking into very cool new creative territory. I wish I had done that. No, I really wish I had thought of that.
Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.
You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.