Popular household pest control Mortein came to Red Agency with a challenge – to sustain awareness for the brand during the 2011-12 pest season – despite no new products this year.
Working with sister advertising agency Euro RSCG, the team developed a brand loyalty campaign using Mortein’s mascot of over 54 years, Louie The Fly. The Mortein range of products is now so innovative and high tech we posed a question to the Australian public – does Louie still represent the brand? We let the great Australian decide whether or not Mortein should kill off its brand ambassador from their advertising campaigns for good. Fans were encouraged to cast their votes to save or kill Louie via his Facebook page. On Facebook, Louie came to life by providing regular updates to his community on how he is trying to convince Mortein execs to keep him on. Louie later headed off on a three-month roadshow around the country over the 2011/12 summer to drum up support. The photography and video content from this tour would also further fuel the Facebook site.
The Kill or Save campaign involved developing a Facebook strategy, content calendar, community management plan, digital activations/promotions and a TV an online display advertising campaign. All this was supported with an overarching PR strategy which included traditional PR collaterals i.e. media releases, photo alerts, interviews alerts for print, online and broadcast, and an experiential activity across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
This is the first major fully integrated social media activity undertaken by Mortein’s parent company, Reckitt Benckiser, in this market. The result was over 850 items of media coverage across TV, radio, print and online, a media audience reach of more than 121 million and a roadshow reach of 690,000. The ROI from the PR activity resulted in an 8:1 against its advertising equivalent value. After 4 months, the Louie the Fly Facebook page had over 210,000 fans, 5000+ comments, 30,000+ likes, 2,000+ shares. In October 2011 we received 17.8 interactions per thousand fans (the All Blacks in their World Cup winning month received just 4.4!). The page at its height was receiving over 1,000 new fans each day and is still counting. The campaign won the internal marketing award for being Reckitt Benckiser’s most effective campaign of 2011/12.
Factory closure: Towards the end of our campaign in January 2012, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), owner of Mortein announced plans to close their factory in Sydney. This announcement received significant media coverage and many people headed to our Facebook page to vent their frustrations as this was RB’s most high profile social media asset. We had no prior knowledge of the announcement and so had to act quickly, we received 400 fans made negative comments in 48 hours and lost over 1,000 ‘likes’. Our strategy was to three fold: firstly, to end the campaign because it was not appropriate to run a fun campaign about Louie’s fight to save his job when some 190 people faced that very real prospect at the factory; secondly, we would allow people to have their say on the page – as we had nowhere else to drive them, there is no RB company Facebook page in Australia – and manage the posts of those that acted outside the house rules were banned (using profanity, personal attacks etc); finally, we would look to bowl the negativity off the page with Louie posts, that we knew would engage people and that we would begin again after two weeks. We went into this final part of the strategy eyes wide open, knowing that in our initial posts we would still get some negativity, but that we needed to ride it through. After two days the main outrage died down, although we saw 10 or so comments per day the following week, to less than 3 after ten days. The strategy worked and now after 6 weeks we have more than 12,000 fans (from 212,000 to 224,000) than we did when the announcement was made, despite the loss in ‘likes’ at the time, positivity on the page is over 95% and we are back to the same levels of engagement.
“Fantastic response to this campaign, amazing media pick-up and an overwhelming response on Facebook. It has blown our expectations.”
Katja Thiess, Category Manager, Pest Control, Reckitt Benckiser