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Innovative? Yes. Profitable innovation? Perhaps eventually Unfortunately, at the time, this idea didn’t generate quite enough interest between Binney & Smith and Hallmark Entertainment to move it to its next phase. I still wonder, though, what it would have been like to follow the escapades of Red the Fireman. . . .
Before You Leap: Know that, while passion and pushing may not always be enough to get a particular CBI off the ground for a particular client, the effort that goes into developing that CBI will be rewarded. It will inform the agency’s work on behalf of that very same client—the better you know the client, the more you can do for them—and it will further reward you by clicking the “on” switch to an idea that may be translatable at a later date or in another industry.
Billiken: Like Taking Candy Ideas from Babies
One of our agencies in Latin America faced a similar challenge, with a brand that is also primarily targeted toward children. In this case, it was an old brand, with an old-fashioned image, one that desperately needed to be rejuvenated. The agency’s solution is a great example of what can happen when we make consumers fully vested participants in the brand itself.
In fact, this effort not only boosted sales, it won first place in our 2001 Creative Business Idea Awards.
Your Daddy's Candy
Billiken is a very well known candy brand in Argentina—the company makes soft and hard candy, fruit jellies, and mints. It has a long history and is known as a high-quality brand. But the brand was in trouble.
The candy market is an interesting one—what the agency team in
CBIs need not be only sexy and hip. Nor should it be the exclusive terrain played out by the new media and technologically sa vvy Really, the more focused and simple it is, the better. The net result is a solution to make one's experience better.
—Eugene Seow, Euro RSCG Partnership Asia Pacific, Singapore
The Entertainment Factor
Brand image is often only the reflection of what the brand has steadily told consumers year after year. We push our clients to temporarily forget their brand identities and focus on consumers' aspirations, and further imagine ways for their products or category to meet these aspirations. Only when this is clear can we come back to the brand heritage and leverage it to meet consumers’ evolving needs.
—Marianne Hurstel, BETC Euro RSCG, Paris
Argentina calls “hyperactive.” Because the primary consumers in that market are children, kids dictate a lot of the market dynamics. Here is what we know about kids: They have short attention spans. They get bored easily. They crave what’s new. As a result, the product life cycle of candy is typically short; kids flock en masse to the next new product. For the candy companies, that means a company’s growth is heavily dependent on the ability to continually launch innovative new products.
When the client approached our agency, CraveroLanis Euro RSCG, the Billiken brand was a very weak competitor in this hyperactive market. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the product or with its brand awareness. It’s just that the brand wasn’t attractive to consumers—Billiken was the candy that Mommy and Daddy ate when they were kids.
The agency was quick to recognize that Billiken needed more than an ad campaign or a makeover—the brand needed to be relaunched. Nothing less would make the brand appeal to children, revitalize the brand’s image, and differentiate Billiken from its competitors.
How do you come up with ideas that will appeal to 6- to 12-year-olds? How do you take a tired old brand and make it attractive to them?
What’s so exciting about this story is that the agency turned to a partner that seems like such a natural. But no other candy company in Argentina and maybe anywhere else, to my knowledge, had ever done anything like this: The company made its consumers its partners.
Billiken: Like Taking Candy Ideas from Babies
It makes perfect sense: Who better to create candy that children will like than the children themselves? Include them in the candy-making process, invite them to literally help design the candy, and kids would be getting exactly what they want. It would be their candy, but you would be making it for them. What a great way to differentiate one’s brand from the competition.
This approach could make the brand the most widely recognized in Argentina, but it had the potential to do something far greater: to create brand loyalty among these easily bored consumers by, in essence, making Billiken their company, their brand partners.
So Billiken invited children to actively participate in the creation of the company’s candy, in its design, and even in evaluating the candy once it had been produced. Billiken sounded the call to children everywhere in Argentina:
Be part of the dream. You create the candy . . .
Billiken makes it for you.
The implications of such a major shift in strategy for such a traditional company are staggering. Product development, manufacturing processes, packaging, marketing, logistics, distribution—most of it would have to change in one way or another. Fortunately, there were leaders at Billiken who welcomed creative thinking.