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Agrimarketing : June 2008
June 2008 ¦ AgriMarketing 43 With an expanding product line, the concept provided flexibility and consistency. Further developing the concept, Bader Rutter selected different horses to represent different vaccine brands of Merial. RECOMBITEK Equine WNV would be represented with a dark brown Warmblood. RECOM- BITEK Flu would be designated with a gray Thoroughbred. The platform could then serve as a foundation for other Merial Brand Vaccines. The idea of flight was mimicked in the copy’s tone and language as well. While the hook was the canary, the copy did not linger explaining it. Research had shown that technology was important, but understanding the product was paramount. “Once I saw the creative, I remember thinking there was such brilliance in putting the horse and canary together,” Hall says. “That would never happen in nature. We were set on pictures that would speak to performance-oriented vet- erinarians and horse owners. It’s part of why the ad was so successful. Whether you understand horses or not, you realize instantly it’s a beau- tiful animal.” GIVING CREDIT TO THE CANARY Bader Rutter called on two photogra- phers to help get the perfect images. Mark Barrett was selected to photo- graph the horses. After a thorough scouting report, the team traveled to Florida for the shoot. On location at exclusive stables, several horses were selected for the shoot. The goal was to have a lush por- trait showing all the horse’s curves and highlights. While the horse and canary were photographed separately, the horse had to be in positions that made interacting with the bird look natural. The team set up a small studio in an open barnyard, and the horse was set against a black background. The photo assistant used a variety of props and noises to entice the horse to look up, down and around. “At times, other horses in the sta- ble became so riled up that we had to stop,” Shriner says. Simultaneously, photographer Jim Dowling from Milwaukee took a series of canary pictures that would be added to the equine pho- tography. Once all the photos were captured, the Bader Rutter team selected the best images and com- bined horse, canary and background to create a platform look. The combined visual provided an eye-catching dynamic between striking horse and bright canary. Nearly every resulting marketing piece shows the RECOMBITEK Flu horse in a different position, which helps give character to each piece, Shriner says. PERFECT LANDING Once the platform was created, the campaign took a number of approaches to get the message across. For Bader Rutter and Merial, it was important that each piece reflect the overall brand portfolio. To get into the market effec- tively, veterinarians were chosen as the key audience to ensure the prod- uct was understood and accepted. First, a small group of key industry leaders were assembled in Septem- ber 2006 to serve as the advisory council for RECOMBITEK Flu. These leading practitioners and aca- demics were given a sneak preview of the campaign, product research and messaging. Two months prior to launch, Merial provided a product training session for the sales force, reviewing the essentials of canarypox-vectored vaccine technology and disease information. After a detailed review of the launch materials, a few finish- ing touches were added based on sales force experience. With two previews receiving great results, all materials were ready for launch when the USDA approved the vaccine in November 2006. First, RECOMBITEK Flu was announced with a mailer to prospec- tive customers providing product information and sanitizing hand wipes to ward off influenza. A prod- uct detailer and profile sheet were developed to provide veterinarians with an overview of the product research. Veterinary pieces were delivered to external and internal audiences through a series of mail- ings. To arm veterinarians with information about the disease and the product, a consumer brochure assisted with providing essential information and explanations to horse owners. The product launch coincided with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) con- vention in San Antonio, TX, allowing for face-to-face contact with key cus- tomers shortly after USDA approval. FUTURE TAKE-OFFS “We really did a good job of creating a bridge between the quality of the marketing pieces, quality of the ani- mal photographed and quality of the product,” Hall says. “You know at first glance that this is going to be a high-level product, which is exactly what we wanted.” The campaign caught the eye of more than just the target audiences. International marketing teams at Merial requested to use the images. The images were universal and rep- resentative of the brand, even across continents. The foundation of the creative platform was recently broadened to include IMRAB Large Animal rabies vaccine and POTOMAVAC vaccine. “This campaign has been so suc- cessful that it’s allowed us to con- sider extending it even further,” says Lori Hallowell , Group Leader for Bader Rutter. “When you have client partners like Merial that continually innovate, you’re just inspired to do the same.” AM The RECOMBITEK Equine Influenza Virus vaccine announcement mailer included branded hand sanitizing wipes to drive home the idea of protecting against flu.
July August 2008
Canadian Agribusiness Employer Guide 08