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Agrimarketing : June 2008
42 AgriMarketing ¦ June 2008 B efore launching a new equine vaccine, Merial Limited, Duluth, GA, and Bader Rutter & Associates , Brookfield, WI, made sure they were on sturdy ground — allowing the entire line to take off. The client-agency team worked together to launch a sister vaccine in 2004, RECOMBITEK Equine West Nile Virus vaccine, which was the first U.S. equine recombinant technology vaccine from Merial. Continuing to innovate, Merial looked to the chal- lenge of equine influenza. Similar to the human disease, equine influenza is highly contagious with changing strains. These aspects can make vac- cination difficult, but also lent them- selves to using new vaccine technol- ogy to help protect horses. Building on the launch experi- ence of RECOMBITEK Equine WNV, the team established a clear brand strategy that would encompass both brands. The creative concepts had to stand up to the innovation. RECOM- BITEK WNV is the first and only equine influenza vaccine in the U.S. that uses canarypox-vectored tech- nology. A large amount of education about the technology occurred since the launch of RECOMBITEK Equine West Nile Virus vaccine, but the process had not been used with the more established influenza vaccine market. Homing in on that unique bit of technology provided the inspiration for a campaign. “As a horse owner, I knew other owners didn’t put much thought into vaccine brand choices like they do with most of their other horse care products,” says Renée Hall, former Product Manager and now District Manager at Merial. “We wanted to cre- ate something that was visually arrest- ing and powerful that caused people to stop and look at the advertisement. I think we created a visual that was so powerful and stunning that it helped to grow our brand identity and make the launch very successful.” FLIGHT PLAN The campaign to launch RECOMBITEK Flu started with a solid brand strategy. The most critical decision was deciding that RECOMBITEK would be a port- folio of products. Both client and agency debated the situation but agreed on a port- folio approach and developed a portfolio hierar- chy. “Recombi- nant technology links the West Nile virus vac- cine and the influenza vac- cine,” says Carol Polacek , Brand Strategist for Bader Rutter. “We wanted to keep that con- nection strong, but develop a distinct identity for this new vac- cine.” As a portfolio of products, ele- ments of the existing RECOMBITEK Equine WNV platform were re- thought and new brand elements were added that tied each product together. “Our portfolio analysis helped streamline decision-making and communications, but most impor- tantly build equity,” Polacek says. The brand team centered its strategy on the vaccine technology. While it’s just as complex as it sounds, the benefits were com- pelling. A new brand element, the canary, was added to emphasize the technology and express the person- ality of both brands. “We approached the brand strat- egy for RECOMBITEK knowing that we had to connect with our audi- ences first and foremost,” Polacek says. “The technology is undeniable, but we had to be certain it was dis- tinct and memorable.” EXPRESSING THE IMAGE “The idea of a horse and canary started with our initial rounds of concepts for the RECOMBITEK Equine WNV launch in 2004,” says Bob Shriner , VP/Associate Creative Director for Bader Rutter. “It wasn’t right for that launch. There needed to be more education about the tech- nology first. But, by the time we began work on RECOMBITEK Flu, the concept was a good fit.” 2008 NAMA’S BEST OF SHOW: SPECIALTY MERIAL’S RECOMBITEK TAKES FLIGHT by Jennifer Ryan, Bader Rutter & Associates The brand platform image — as shown in this advertisement — of a canary and horse interacting helps instantly communicate product attributes.
July August 2008
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08