Luncheon recap: Best of Show Paragon Award: Bader Rutter

By Lauren Gonn

This year’s 2015 PRSA Paragon Awards winners included an impressive lineup of public relations campaigns, including the 2015 Best of Show Paragon Award that went to Bader Rutter. The award recognizes Bader Rutter’s work to launch HOOF-TEC, a footbath product for dairy cows, from its client, Zoetis. The judges gave the integrated communications entry high marks because Bader Rutter’s work was measurable, creative and delivered strong results.

At the October PRSA luncheon, Bader Rutter kicked off with an audience-engaging hair metal band trivia, which set the stage for sharing the campaign, “Easy on the metal, bro.”paragon

Bader Rutter was tasked with developing a campaign, in just eight weeks, for HOOF-TEC to increase awareness and use of the unknown product. Bader Rutter had to capture the attention of dairy farmers and veterinarians because HOOF-TEC is in a saturated and often overlooked product category. The campaign launched the product into the spotlight with a smart mix of research insights; well-timed, integrated content; show-stopping creative and inescapable advertising strategy.

Bader Rutter PR practitioners took the lead in finding that one thing to tell a differentiated story and build a campaign on and worked with an integrated, cross-disciplinary team.

What was the one thing? Metal. Metals are a common antibacterial agent in footbaths that cows walk through to clean their hooves. And research showed that most dairy farmers were concerned with the metal content of their footbath solutions.

Because HOOF-TEC has less metal, there was a straight forward message: You don’t need that much metal in your footbath.

To turn heads, the campaign vision was to take “too much metal” to extremes by using in-your-face, heavy-metal hair band photography that helps quickly convey the message that farmers can reduce metal in their footbaths.

The PR team took the lead in priming the industry and audience for the introduction of HOOF-TEC and the campaign through well-timed pre-conditioning blogs and expert-bylined articles to address the impact of hoof health challenges and tips for incorporating and managing footbaths. In addition, the PR team and other agency team members developed a comprehensive sales kit that helped Zoetis representatives effectively demonstrate proper footbath management and product use.

By six months post-launch, the campaign helped garner 39 percent market awareness. With captivating creative, strategic advertising placement and well-timed content, the campaign garnered above industry average impressions for print/digital advertising and launch release impressions. This high-impact marketing strategy led to 50 percent market awareness of HOOF-TEC by 9 months. The steady increase of awareness led to an increase in incremental HOOF-TEC sales for Zoetis. Regular monitoring and reporting of metrics for each campaign tactic served as the compass to ensure “Easy on the metal, bro” maintained a successful course.

Wondering what it takes to be the next Best of Show Paragon Award winner?

While it can be difficult to select the Best of Show winner from a group of well-executed campaigns, the following criteria is key:

  • Clear objectives, including target audience
  • Detailed research and planning to identify challenge and or/opportunity
  • Execution, including strategies and tactics and how these addressed the objectives
  • Budget definition and application
  • Results that demonstrate how the campaign met or exceeded project goals

“Goal setting and measurement are absolutely critical for PR pros today,” said Bill Bussler, chapter president. “Of course, all of the campaigns that were recognized as part of our 2015 Paragon Awards demonstrated very strong results. Award-winning work now requires measurement of outputs and outcomes as well as the impact of these efforts on overall organizational performance.”

Stay tuned for information on our 2016 Paragon Awards. Chapter members interested in participating in the 2016 program are encouraged to watch the chapter website for more details.