PFIZER ANIMAL HEALTH'S SOLITUDE IGR
by John Rabuse
Every once in a while a product or service comes along that completely changes the way we do things. Recent examples include cell phones, e-mail, online services and television on demand. It seems that as technology evolves it allows us to look at life, and the many ways we can live it, differently.
Such is the case with this year's Best of Show award winner in the specialty category. Not only does the product itself represent a revolutionary solution to the age-old problem of controlling menacing flies but its introductory ad campaign was created by an organization that defies the traditional definition of "agency."
NEW TECHNOLOGY TO TREAT AN AGE-OLD PROBLEM
For as long as man has existed, we've attempted to control flies. We've tried swatters, sprays, covers, baits and traps. In fact, the fly control category is literally saturated with products designed to repel or kill flies but only after they've matured and gained the ability to fly. However several years ago, scientists began to wonder if a product could be made that broke the life cycle of flies at the larval stage?
Introduced in the spring of 2005, Solitude IGR from Pfizer Animal Health is just such a product; it is a feed-through fly preventive for horses that can safely reduce fly populations in barns, arenas and pastures by up to 90 percent.
Many challenges faced the team responsible for its introduction, the first of which involved breaking through the competitive clutter while simultaneously convincing horse owners that the product was safe and effective. "The market had been inundated for many years by conventional products which had marginal performance in most situations. This new product represented a significant paradigm shift for horse owners dealing with fly infestations" says Dan Kramer, the former senior equine market manager for Pfizer. "The challenge for us as marketers was not simply
to introduce the product. We had to entirely change the market's perceptions and buying habits while also affirming the product's credibility."
SMALL AGENCY. BIG IDEAS.
Already a dedicated marketing partner, Kramer asked Brown + Associates (B + A) to create the introductory campaign for Solitude IGR.
B + A is a "virtual agency" specializing in the strategic planning and execution of brand development, advertising, sales promotion and direct marketing programs for client businesses. Agency President Sue Brown relies on an extensive portfolio of marketing experience to guide the agency's work, drawing on experience with well-known brands like Apple Computer, Pepsi, Healthy Choice, Avis and Cap'n Crunch. Assisting Brown are some of the best freelance creative, media and production talents — or "associates" — in the industry. These freelance professionals are uniquely networked through B + A to execute work on an as-needed basis; work that is often carried out in a more agile and less costly fashion than that of traditional agencies. "I believe the success of B + A demonstrates that what really matters is not the size of the agency," says Brown. "It's the size of the ideas."
LESS IS MORE
"As Pfizer's advertising agency, we've introduced a lot of new products over the years, but Solitude IGR was a unique product with a long and complex selling story," comments Brown. "We needed to package the story simply but execute it with ... well, a lot of buzz."
Art director Dawn Yemma and Copywriter John Rabuse teamed up to address this challenge.
"Solitude is an insect growth regulator that controls flies by stopping them where they star — in horse manure," explains Yemma. "There were a lot of visual places we could have gone, but let's face it, nobody really wants to see dead larvae or horse manure in an ad. Instead, we adopted a 'less is more' focus and infused the brand with some sly humor. The rest of the selling story was then allowed to unfold across the other elements of the campaign."
Your Flies Are Down became the memorable embodiment of the promise of fewer flies. Bold colors and a single fly became the major creative elements of the campaign. Mass media and point-of-purchase elements worked together in an integrated fashion to flesh out the story. Single and consecutive page print ads were created for use in horse enthusiast publications along with a belly band that offered humorous step-by-step instructions about how to swat flies using the rolled up magazine.
"It just seemed like an obvious place to go with this introduction. Which one of us hasn't curled up a magazine to swat at something that was bugging us?" asks Rabuse. The copy concluded with the statement that the normal ways of dealing with flies was about to change — thanks to Solitude IGR.
"I've had so many people say they loved the way the belly band was designed to be interactive with the magazine!" says Brown. "I think to receive positive feedback like that over and over again proves we're doing our jobs right."
TWO YEARS IN A ROW AND COUNTING
This is the second year in a row that B + A has won the Best of Show award. Last year Brown accepted the award for work on another Pfizer product, Strongid C 2X.
"I'm extremely proud of the work we produce," explains Brown. "We invest a lot of ourselves into each piece of every campaign and hold ourselves to the highest creative and marketing standards. Our clients appreciate our passion because they know that it is what drives us to search for an 'intelligent solution.'"
"What's more, they appreciate the fact that we offer a smoothly functioning, high level approach to resolving their problems without asking them to pay for traditional, large agency overhead and structure. It's funny, but after people from traditional agencies see our work they will often ask how many people B + A employs. They are amazed we can create such high impact work through the use of such an unconventional approach."
Kramer states, "I can always count on Sue and her creative teams to come up with marketing ideas that are innovative and smart without making light of what are sometimes very serious health issues. Finding that combination of creative thinking and emotional connection is key to the success of our messages. After all, we develop ads to support a marketing strategy, not win awards. However, it is really nice when your efforts receive this type of recognition."
With the help of Brown + Associates inventive marketing work, Pfizer and Solitude IGR are changing the future of fly management, making it clear that wherever there's a horse lover, there are probably fewer flies.
John Rabuse is a freelance associate for Brown + Associates.