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UNIVERSAL McCANN, New York / LOWE'S / 2002

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Overview

Description

Lowe’s was opening a new store in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, a major subsection of the market. The media challenge was two-fold: 1) Los Angeles is an expensive market, very fragmented in terms of number of media vehicles, and physically huge, and 2) the store was given a limited budget based on the client’s budgeting formula, although it was located far from any existing stores so no one locally had much experience with Lowe’s.Our communication goals were not measured in the traditional manner of delivered impressions. In some respects it was more like direct response, with increased store traffic and sales the measure of success. Based on the radio remote and the preliminary reported sales increase, this campaign was an overwhelming success. Our strategy was to take advantage of the media consolidation occurring in the market. In Los Angeles, there are media vendors owning multiple media properties, both broadcast and non-broadcast. Placing all our budget with one group would mean we could request use of all their properties, do cross-property promotional spots and tie-ins, demand added-value and merchandising based on the total budget, and give the impression of “being everywhere” through consistency of message and presentation.The two media vendors participating in the review were very similar in capabilities. They both owned a variety of stations, with approximately the same reach against Lowe’s target audience throughout the market. They both had substantial out-of-home plants, which would be used to both give visual impact to the message, and be near Lowe’s locations. Both had substantial contest and prize offerings in their packages. In short, both provided value significantly above the budget offered.The winning proposal was a promotion using Clear Channel stations in Los Angeles, and some of their stations in outlying areas. The lead station was KIIS-FM, using well-known radio personality Rick Dees as the main spokesperson for the campaign. The other stations supported the promotion with promo spots throughout the campaign. In addition to radio stations, Clear Channel brought other media vehicles in their arsenal to bear. The impact of the schedule was greatly enhanced by the use of Clear Channel out-of-home throughout Southern California, placed near Lowe’s locations. They also placed promo spots in their radio coverage of the New Year’s Rose Parade. Additional impact to the radio schedule was provided by placement of ads in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Orange County Register, and La Opinion, providing significant additional reach for the message in a highly relevant environment. Overall, we estimate receiving an additional $1 million in media value over the dollars invested. The media team made the decision to create a “winner-take-all” competition for the budget between two major multi-media vendors. While the budget was not large in the context of a traditional media plan, it did represent a substantial investment if placed all with one vendor. We developed the goals to be met, and gave the vendors input on their initial proposals. Working with the winning vendor, we came up with the final campaign. It further enhanced the client’s budget by including KB Homes, which supplied the home in exchange for the right to participate in the campaign. We felt the combination of a $263,000 new home with a home improvement warehouse was a synergistic pairing. Lowe’s gave away a $263,000 new home, as the grand prize of a radio contest.While the strategy was not new, in and of itself, the fact that we used it to give away a home is new. The emotional impact of the prize brought the idea of a radio contest to a new level of excitement. The radio remote at the new store, which was the main preliminary event before actually giving away the home, generated the largest crowd of any remote we’ve done since introducing Lowe’s to the US West Coast. Store traffic through Lowe’s Southern California stores increased tremendously; the client was very pleased that same-store sales for the region were above year ago during the promotional period. The contest entry form had to be mailed in, which historically reduces the number of entries; we still received over 7,100 entries. Station reps told us that some of Lowe’s competitors were asking when the promotion would be over so they could begin their advertising when ours was finished.This campaign went above and beyond the standard for radio campaigns and promotions. We created a campaign that truly impressed listeners, we got the media vendor actively and emotionally involved because of the publicity it generated for their radio stations, and Lowe’s received an effective campaign far in excess of their investment.

Execution

The media team made the decision to create a “winner-take-all” competition for the budget between two major multi-media vendors. While the budget was not large in the context of a traditional media plan, it did represent a substantial investment if placed all with one vendor. We developed the goals to be met, and gave the vendors input on their initial proposals. Working with the winning vendor, we came up with the final campaign. It further enhanced the client’s budget by including KB Homes, which supplied the home in exchange for the right to participate in the campaign. We felt the combination of a $263,000 new home with a home improvement warehouse was a synergistic pairing.

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