Monday, September 14, 2009

The Buzz-Winning Campaigns - Reality TV: Mediavest Worldwide, Herbal Essences

Most companies looking to be part of MTV's ultra-hip Video Music Awards program simply buy commercial time. Herbal Essences, along with MediaVest Worldwide, took that one step farther: They created a reality TV show around the event.

In the summer of 2007, Herbal Essences had just completed a relaunch that positioned the hair care product as fun and flirty. The company needed to keep the buzz going and set the tone for a fall promotion, which would be dubbed "Great Escapes." The answer was to use on-pack promotion-a first for the marketer- to drive consumers to for a sweepstakes in which the big winner would attend the MTV Video Music Awards and star in a reality TV program about the adventure.

The winner of " My VMA Fantasy Weekend" was a woman named Lauren, who traveled to Las Vegas for the taping of the VMAshow, received primping from a celebrity stylist and partied with MTV talent.

Lauren's dream weekend was chronicled in a 30-minute reality TV show that ran virtually commercial-free. Only two 30-second spots for Herbal Essences broke up the action.

According to an IAG study, 42 percent of viewers were aware that Herbal Essences was a sponsor of the 2007 VMAs, and 59 percent said they would consider purchasing the product after having seen the awards show. The reality show generated traffic to the Herbal Essences Web site, which recorded triple-digit increases over the year before.

"With the My VMA Fantasy Weekend custom 30-minute program, we were able to complement and amplify the excitement around the VMAs and further drive buzz for the brand," said Chris Dorne, vice president/director of production at MediaVest, which develops branded-entertainment campaigns. "Having the hottest awards show 'escape' to Las Vegas, a fantasy world for young adults, allowed us to organically weave Herbal Essences' Great Escape campaign throughout the 30-minute program, the weekend and all aspects of the partnership with MTV."