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Marketing successes of 2003
Written by: Jason Hovet, Anita Lišková, Klára Smolová, Petr Vykoukal
Creative marketing that makes a
difference is worth its weight in gold. The Prague Tribune found
a few marketing concepts that stood out in 2003, due to original
ideas and innovative approaches.
AT THE END OF LAST YEAR TNS Factum conducted its regular research
on the topic, "The Czech Public's Attitude Towards Advertising",
which confirmed the long-term trend towards oversaturation. So
although some people try to avoid advertising, between 30% and
40% of the populace acknowledge that they buy certain items because
of advertising. So what constitutes good marketing, that which
elicits responses? The same research indicates that people mainly
appreciate truth (49.9% of respondents) and trustworthiness (42.3%),
but there is also rising demand for humor (38.4%) and originality
To come up with an idea that will stand out, catch attention, strengthen
brand awareness and increase sales, is the dream of every marketing
specialist. We ignored the industry's annual awards for the best
advertisements, instead trying to find for ourselves a few original
marketing campaigns that caught the public's attention last year.
The criteria were simple: the whole concept must stand out due
to its overall innovative approach to the given customer's product
or services, and its success had to be clearly measurable, in terms
of sales or increased numbers of clients, for example.
Our selection was purely subjective, and we leave it to our readers
to decide if the strategies on the following pages are truly exceptional.
Will you find Česká spořitelna's Student+ payment card, and the
bank's comprehensive marketing concept as remarkable as we did?
Perhaps you will be more impressed by Renault's innovative promotion,
which tied environmentally-conscious consumerism to discounts on
their new models. Then there's Staropramen's "good guy" approach,
which served to strengthen brand awareness and loyalty. In the
end, it should become clear that in the competitive world of marketing,
creativity often makes all the difference
Expres's thousands of zeros
Basing an advertising campaign on a negative
evaluation of your own operations is a rather risky
strategy. Radio Expres has been successful with
a daredevil step of this sort. The humorously conducted
campaign built on self-deprecation turned out to
be a clever move that has helped the metropolitan
station to stress its difference from the mainstream.
Radio Expres began broadcasting two years ago, with
a focus on good quality international pop. At the
beginning of 2003 Mediaprojekt, a firm that measures
stations listenership, published research results
that showed zero listenership for Radio Expres. "We
certainly didn't believe it, since such a result
is on the margin of statistical error," says
Libor Bouček, Radio Expres's marketing and PR manager.
But, based on these results, the station's director
wanted to change the program. The station's employees
revolted against the management and started to ask
listeners for their support. "Proof that you
are not zeros and support us," they beseeched
on the air. And people responded - by SMS messages,
e-mails, and phone calls to the station. The slogan, "I'm
a zero, I listen to Radio Expres," arose spontaneously,
and later served as the basis for an advertising
campaign that was prepared in cooperation with the
Leo Burnett agency.
The campaign employed a three-fold approach. First,
the radio station itself solicited friends, singers
and other celebrities to express their support with
the recorded slogan. Next, posters were distributed
depicting an "abandoned" or discarded radio
and the slogan, "Give your radio another chance".
The third push came in the middle of April in the
form of a "concert for all good zeroes" on
Old Town Square, drawing an audience of nearly 10,000.
Then the campaign shifted into a second phase - posters
and billboards with the slogan, "Radio Expres,
precisely what you want to listen to."
We invested 10 to 15 percent of our revenues in the
campaign. A successful campaign usually becomes evident
six months later, and around September we noted increased
advertiser interest," Bouček says. He believes
that Expres has become one of the most dynamic stations
on the market, targeting mainly listeners aged 20
to 32. "The station came to life, and now everyone
is aware of its existence. Now the other stations
see us not as outsiders, but as competitors," he
adds. Leo Burnett has presented the campaign at many
foreign professional festivals, to highly favorable
If you received coupons for discounts in the McDonald's
fast-food chain between 3 February and 9 March of last year,
you became a part of the "coupon full of advantages" campaign.
Preparations for this Czech-made campaign took nearly eight
months of cooperation with the DDB Praha advertising agency,
and cost millions of crowns. The aim was to heighten brand
awareness and gain entirely new customers at McDonald's restaurants,
thus increasing sales.
The company decided to launch a massive campaign that would
reach a large portion of the Czech populace, so it was not
focused on a specific group of franchise customers. "We
didn't have any clear-cut target customer in this particular
campaign, that's the difference compared to the other ones," says
McDonald's marketing director, Pavel Pavlíček. "All sorts
of people patronize our restaurants, so we tried to take maximum
advantage of the campaign's potential," he adds. The booklets,
each with ten coupons valid for limited periods, offered discounts
worth a total of CZK 268 for certain combinations of products
and were distributed to all households in towns with McDonald's
restaurants. In all, 1.7 million coupon books were printed.
The campaign was supplemented by another, over the internet,
in which visitors could get another six coupons. "We think
our coupon campaign was a success - sales and brand awareness
were both up. But I'd rather not disclose any specific figures," Pavlíček
Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), decided to take advantage of
the extraordinary response to the campaign by declaring that
every customer to bring in a McDonald's coupon could also get
a discount on KFC products. McDonald's protested, and took
the matter to court, but both companies eventually settled
out of court.
McDonald's currently operates 70 restaurants in the Czech Republic.
Gross sales in 2003 amounted to CZK 2.73 billion, which represents
year-on-year growth of 5.7 percent.
a car, save a tree
As environmental talk heats up, Renault has started
planting trees - literally - hoping to grow customers at
the same time.
Renault Czech Republic introduced an ecologically-friendly
Green Heart (Zelené srdce) campaign last summer as part of
its new "développement durable" program, aimed at
helping the environment and showing foreign firms can positively
contribute to a host country. The deal was simple: a customer
brings in an old car; Renault buys it; the customer buys a
new Renault; Renault recycles the old car and plants a tree.
For Renault, the campaign, which ran from July to November,
was a success: more than 1,300 vehicles were ordered, and plans
were made to continue the promotion in 2004. But that was expected
after Renault had similar success in Croatia where the campaign
was first used two years ago.
It seemed to us that this activity was not only interesting
business-wise, but also very beneficial from an ecological
point of view," Jitka Skaličková, Renault CR's public
relations manager, said.
One aim of the promo was to get outdated cars off the road,
which is a problem in the Czech Republic, as well as Croatia.
Another objective: defend the environment. The campaign, run
in cooperation with Lesy České republiky (Forests of the Czech
Republic), even got the stamp of approval from the Ministry
of Environment, which welcomed the project when it was introduced
and called Renault a model to be followed.
Nice words for a car company trying to befriend the environment.
However, Renault still knew price is the biggest part of the
marketing mix - and the part that gets customers' attention,
especially those with lower salaries living outside of Prague.
So Renault offered trade-in bonuses of up to CZK 60,000. And
with Renault's "Green Heart Leasing" program, new
owners were driving off with monthly payments as low as CZK
While parked once again in the number two spot in Czech car
sales for 2003, Renault was first in car imports, leaving competitors
green with envy.
the right cards
Almost two years ago, Česká spořitelna decided to
develop a new product that would be attractive enough to
allow the bank to keep its dominant share of the student
accounts market. The bank's strategy relied on a precisely
targeted advertising campaign, strong brand partners, and
a payment card with an unusual design.
The basic novelty of Česká spořitelna's student plan, which
was launched in April 2003, is the Visa Electron Student+
payment card, in linkage with a discount program under which
business partners offer students paying with the card discounts
ranging from 3.5% to 20%. "We select our partners, which
include Ticketpro, Hudy sport, Palace Cinemas, and Olympus,
on an exclusive basis within a given category," says
Marie Hešnaurová, the director of Česká spořitelna's sales
department. "It's important for them to fit the selected
target group. The brands must have sufficiently extensive
sales networks, and they must enjoy a certain image among
young people," she adds. The promotional campaign included
direct mailings, telemarketing, and print advertisements.
It was conducted directly in schools and in media with an
Student interest in the Student+ program exceeded all expectations. As of 31
December 2003, ČS had issued over 120,000 program payment cards, thus making
the Student+ program one of the most successful launches in the bank's history.
According to ČS's marketing director, Václav Kubata, the product's success relies
primarily on accurate targeting and the association with strong brands. "Other
banks will certainly turn to the partner card concept," he predicts. The
emphasis placed on the card's youth-oriented appearance was also a key factor. "The
design has really been successful. At bank counters you could hear people requesting
the card with 'the snowboarder'," Hešnaurová says.
Two more partners should be added this year to the existing nine. "Feedback
from our business partners has been unanimously positive. The number of transactions
using these cards is growing, and the students seek out their outlets," notes
Hešnaurová. Rostislav Sedliský, Hudy Sport's marketing manager, vouches for this,
saying that "nearly 9,000 customers took advantage of the 6% discount in
our network in 2003."
Entertainment for "good
"Chlapark (Guys' Park) is the logical continuation
of the successful Beer Training Camps that were held in
2001 and 2002," says Petr Ungerman, junior brand manager
for Pivovary Staropramen. The event provided a complement
to the firm's summer advertising campaigns.
The Beer Training Camps (BTC) were inspired by a common
theme of the company's television advertising - a world of
good guys and good beer. The creator of the concept for both
the original BTCs and Chlapark is the Joe PR agency, whose
creative team includes personalities from the now-defunct
Limonádový Joe radio station and actors from the theater
Sklep. The organizing agency even formed a band called "Guys
from the Park" and, in cooperation with Staropramen
released a single promoting the project. Ungerman has a simple
explanation for why this "road show" concept was
chosen to support the marketing campaign: "We want to
offer a personal experience with the Staropramen brand."
You could have met up on a weekend with the Chlapark road
show at eight different venues in Bohemia and Moravia from
May to September last year, and you would have been one of
total of 65,000 visitors. Although the name Chlapark might
lead you to think the event was for men only, it was actually
conceived as family entertainment. So while gentlemen could
quaff their beer at the longest bar counter in central Europe,
children could enter soft-drink chugging contests. But the
program certainly didn't revolve solely around libations
- a trampoline and activities like a rock-climbing wall were
open to all, many bands performed, and there were team contests
such as a slalom through bottles and a tug-of-war. Prizes
including a tap and a thousand beers were awarded to the
Staropramen commissioned the General Marketing agency to
conduct research, the results of which testified to the popularity
of the event among its participants. Among other things,
the research showed that 85% of visitors rated the Chlapark
event as above-average, and the same percentage also stated
that such events suit the Staropramen brand well; (99%) of
respondents said they would attend a similar event again;
and 75% said that they liked the Staropramen brand better
after their visits to Chlapark.