THE SECRET IS OUT
BRAND IMAGE FOR CALLISTO HERBICIDE HAS LONG ROOTS
Compiled by Agri Marketing Editors
What do penicillin, microwave ovens and Callisto herbicide have in common? All were discovered by accident. The serendipitous finding that the Callistemon plant secretes a chemical that inhibits certain broadleaf weeds is the root of Callisto herbicide. It helped establish the brand, becoming the campaign's distinctive trait, and winning the 2002 Best of Show for Syngenta, Greensboro, N.C., and its former agency, Bader Rutter & Associates, Brookfield, Wis.
"The unique story about the discovery of Callisto provided a basis for the development of its distinguishing brand image," says Janet Dinsmore, Callisto communications manager. "Callisto herbicide is new, but it's rooted in unique chemistry discovered as a part of a project focused on the development of weed control products derived from natural origins. The campaign connotes this wonderful sense of discovery that makes it distinctive."
In the 1980s an astute Syngenta researcher noticed that certain weeds didn't appear to grow underneath the Callistemon plant, but they were prevalent beyond the bush's arc. Further investigation and testing led to the discovery of the active ingredient in Callisto, a member of the Callistemone class of chemistry. With its unique chemistry and broad level of activity for broadleaf weed control, Callisto offered a new mode of action to postemergence broadleaf weed control in corn. It also added an exciting new tool for weed resistance management.
A CROWDED MARKET
Fast forward to 2000. "The broadleaf corn herbicide market was crowded and noisy, with no one product perceived as being truly distinctive," says Matt Comer, Callisto brand manager. "Competitors included dicamba products and other prominent broadleaf herbicides. Our challenge was to establish a clear, differentiated position for Callisto, based on efficacy, crop safety, unique qualities, natural origins and low use rates. Callisto has great potential to achieve its targeted market share."
ESTABLISHING AN IMAGE
To reach these goals Syngenta needed to establish a unique brand image. The challenge was to create meaning for the Callisto brand among growers. Research showed they were confused by the messages in the herbicide marketplace. "We had to establish a brand that would distinguish us from the rest of the broadleaf herbicide products," says Jon Anderson, Bader Rutter account group supervisor, who managed the branding and marketing communications campaign.
The agency found its answer with the Callistemon plant, which became the brand's distinguishing characteristic. With a wide, bushy shape and rich, red flowers the plant became an image from which the entire campaign was structured.
Photographed in a field with weeds in the foreground, the Callistemon plant is centered, surrounded by dark, broadleaf weed-free soil. The image of the Callistemon flower would appear in virtually every communications tactic.
"Callisto's brand image is rooted in the plant from which it's derived," says Anderson. "The next step was to introduce it and develop a campaign framework."
MEET YOUR NEW BRAND
Introducing Callisto to employees and sales reps took on added importance, given the brand's distinctive image. A 90-second image video was produced and distributed to employees and sales representatives. The natural images included pristine waters ambling through a wooded valley, majestic mountain peaks towering into the clouds and abundant fields of grain waving in the wind. Superimposed over the film was the brand message, moving in pace to the music.
The video culminated with the Callistemon plant, unveiled dramatically to its full radiance. Finally, the face of a satisfied grower reflects the superiority of Callisto as the natural product of choice.
A companion video, covering product chemistry and inception, accompanied the brand image piece.
CONNECTING IT ALL
To give meaning to Callisto among customers, a three-stage tactical plan was developed, with the following goals:
• Establish an image and understanding of what the active ingredient in Callisto is and does.
• Mesh/connect this information with Callisto, and build the Callisto image.
• Launch Callisto and build awareness for the brand.
"We capitalized on the discovery of Callisto to develop a distinctive image, from which we built awareness and understanding for the new brand," says Anderson. Callisto is positioned as a unique corn herbicide developed from nature, providing unprecedented broadleaf control, application flexibility, and highly desirable environmental, crop and human safety.
The pre-launch tactics, implemented prior to the June 2001 federal registration, educated dealers and growers about the features and technical profile of Callisto. The launch tactics occurred after registration, positioning Callisto as an unprecedented product in the post-broadleaf market.
TARGETING MARKETS INTERACTIVELY
Target markets encompassed those areas with the greatest concentration of post-broadleaf herbicide users. A key strategy utilized the Web and CD-ROM to communicate with progressive retailers and growers within these markets to build awareness and distinguish Callisto from a typical new product introduction.
A teaser mailing was developed and mailed to progressive retailers in the target markets to initiate the interactive communication. The translucent mailing tube contained a representation of the Callistemon flower. A tag attached informed growers that "the Callistemon plant will change the way you look at broadleaf weed control in corn."
Recipients were invited to go online and take the first of two training modules. Doing so would establish awareness for Callisto and enable Syngenta to identify interested retailers and growers. It also entitled them to five free Callisto T-shirts. Follow-up mailings were conducted to remind retailers who had not responded to the first mailing.
Results were impressive. Over 2,300 retailers - approximately 27 percent - completed the online training module. "We were pleased with the response because it required action and established acceptance at a critical stage of the pre-launch campaign," says Anderson.
The training module was also available in a CD-ROM package, with technical information that was easier to view for some
PRINT TEASER CAMPAIGN
Two four-color, front/back teaser inserts were placed in trade publications during this stage to introduce the new image. The visual was the same for both ads: the Callistemon plant in a field, photographed in brown and golden hues with sunlight breaking through dark clouds.
Copy for the first ad: A Callistemon plant. Not pictured. Broadleaf weeds. Are you thinking what we've been thinking?
Copy for the second ad: The Callistemon plant holds the secret to superior broadleaf weed control in corn. The secret is almost out.
"Collectively, these images were intended to pique the interest and attention of growers and retailers, causing them to ask, 'what is that, and why will this product be so different from every other broadleaf herbicide? '" says Anderson. "Our goal was to link the unique story of the active ingredient's origin with Callisto."
Product registration from the EPA cleared the way for launching the full campaign, accomplished by the following tactics:
• A four-page insert in trade publications that paid off the teaser campaign, identifying Callisto and detailing its inception, features and benefits. The cover headline: The secret to superior broadleaf weed control was out there all the time. The inside headline: It just had to be pulled up by its roots and researched.Tagline: Callisto herbicide. The secret is out.
• Radio spots reminding growers that significant scientific discoveries are often made by accident and that Callisto ranks among them.
• Outdoor featuring the tagline - The Secret Is Out - appeared in the target markets with the Callistemon plant as a key visual.
"The campaign was successful in two key respects," says Anderson. First, the pre-launch created awareness and understanding for the active ingredient in Callisto. Second, the launch itself introduced Callisto and created significant awareness among the target audience in the broadleaf market. Most importantly, we created a strong brand image."
The Bader Rutter team consisted of the following associates: Jon Anderson, account group supervisor; Tracy Sagan, account executive; Tom Posta, relationship marketing account supervisor; Margaret Gompper, associate creative director; Bill Stadick, associate creative director; Jason Petersen, interactive art director; Jacci Buehl, media planner/buyer; and Art Navis, production manager. AM