MediaMedia BuyingBrrr Equals Opportunity

Brrr Equals Opportunity

Don't just stand there shivering. Think about the possibilities of a seasonally themed campaign.

The Florida Department of Citrus is at it again. Several months ago I wrote a column about a rich media campaign the organization developed to promote Florida Orange Juice within its target market of American moms. The campaign was a huge success, increasing everything from product awareness and message association to direct response and purchase intent.

This year, armed with the traditional mouth-watering visuals, the group is taking a somewhat more content-oriented approach to catching Internet users’ attention. Instead of engaging audiences with rich media ads designed primarily for branding and traffic-generating purposes, the organization worked with an agency to create a themed microsite.

The miniature site, which appears in the form of a small pop-up window when users click on Eyeblaster ads, skyscrapers, and other standard ad unit creatives, promotes the theme of maintaining good health during the cold and flu season — in other words, it encourages families to drink plenty of vitamin-packed Florida Orange Juice to stave off winter illness. The site educates consumers about the health benefits of orange juice and provides family-friendly recipes that incorporate the product. Placements for the ads and attached microsite are highly targeted, including iVillage’s parenting channel and the “Cold & Flu” feature pages on

Given the results of the organization’s last initiative, what’s the motivation for developing a new campaign based on content? I can’t speak for Florida Orange Juice, but when the occasion to highlight the benefits of one’s product by associating it with a well-known seasonal trend occurs, it just seems to make good sense. The cold and flu season constitutes countless advertisers’ bread and butter (just think where Vicks and Fisherman’s Friend would be without this winter plague).

Interestingly, advertisers who don’t have any apparent connection to the season at all also find ways to leverage it. For these companies, this annual malady represents a golden opportunity to increase sales outside of the typical high season or trigger a spike in a business that is otherwise routinely steady. Does this sound like something your own clients might find appealing? All it takes to make it happen is a little creativity and an approach tailored to the specific industry.

This time of year, there are countless cold-and-flu-related initiatives on the Web to use as inspiration when developing your own calendar-specific campaign. Though the majority of them simply use creative and ad messages suited to the season, others are far more unique in their execution. One of the more engaging methods is to associate the advertiser with one of the many interactive tools that allow consumers to generate a cold-and-flu report specific to their regions.

Similarly to the allergy report tools that abound in the spring and summer months, these fun and useful applications inform consumers about common symptoms and report incidents of cold or flu close to home. Existing tools can be sponsored, but the straightforward technology can also be built, branded, and incorporated into a skyscraper or banner placement on an appropriate consumer site.

These tools can also be designed to incorporate content that further promotes the advertiser’s product and suggests ways in which to make use of it during the winter months. Promoting paper products like tissues? Offer tips for reducing the spread of germs among children and within the home. If your client’s product falls into the home care and cleaning category, provide advice for keeping bathroom germs at bay. And if your client happens to sell packaged goods such as food products, try offering a host of healthy recipes that use the product, and explain how they could assist in the avoidance of cold-weather illness. With industries like these to plan for, the possibilities for customizing content are endless.

Whenever you’re marketing products by using their health-affirming powers, remember to consult healthcare professionals before making any recommendations within your content. Adding accessible medical quotes and statistics to your copy can also boost your client’s credibility, as can citing studies and research that serve to support your position.

The clutter that plagues the Internet these days, combined with stiff online competition within nearly every industry, makes differentiating your client’s product vital to his company’s success. When you’re developing a campaign with a seasonal theme, don’t turn solely to the holidays and weather for inspiration. There’s a lot going on in our society and our daily lives, regardless of the season. Some of it could provide just the right fodder for a memorable consumer-oriented campaign.

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