July 09, 2010

Chris Craig - Chief Marketing Officer - Evenflo

Evenflo, the marketer of child car seats, infant feeding products and other baby gear, has done little if any web marketing until this summer, when it launched a campaign called “The Savvy Parents Guide.” Targeting millennial parents, the cornerstone of the digital effort featured a series of tongue-in-cheek webisodes that depict the hilarious side of parenting (one is titled “How to Repair Your Husband’s Bruised Ego”). Initial webisodes in the series feature Evenflo’s new Momentum 65 Convertible car seat.

eMarketer’s Tobi Elkin spoke with Chris Craig, Evenflo’s chief marketing officer, about the company’s efforts to reach and cultivate relationships with millennial parents using online video.

eMarketer: What are you trying to achieve with “The Savvy Parents Guide campaign”?

Chris Craig: Evenflo is seeking to engage our consumer, and we chose video as the primary means of engagement. A key insight for us is that parents take the role of parenting very seriously and sometimes we forget about the fun and pleasure that’s involved in raising kids. The insight for us was you do all this work, read all these books, ask for all this advice and then you’re a parent and it’s never anything like you expected.

The campaign is a communications platform that we hope will help consumers understand Evenflo. We’ve been in the baby products business for 90 years and have a terrific amount of expertise in the category. We want to help new parents.

“Webisodes are perfect for an online and social-media-driven campaign. They are conversation starters online and off.”

Evenflo doesn’t have all the answers, but we know where to find them. “The Savvy Parents Guide” is also an advertising platform that can come alive in a variety of product categories. The webisodes attempt to inject humor into the challenging situations you find yourself in as a parent. The goal for us is to stimulate conversation. Webisodes are perfect for an online and social-media-driven campaign. They are conversation starters online and off.

eMarketer: The target audience for this campaign is millennial parents. How do you define that demographic?

“Our objective is to find millennial parents where they want to be found, where they expect to be found and engage them the way they expect to be engaged.”

Craig: Our overall audience is 22 to 35 and millennials are a smaller slice of that—about 22 to 30 or so. For Evenflo, the defining psychographic or demographic is this is an online generation. They’re very comfortable digitally. Our objective is to find millennial parents where they want to be found, where they expect to be found and engage them the way they expect to be engaged.

eMarketer: Has the brand ever done online video before?

Craig: No. This is a new area for Evenflo. We’re working with Bold Studios, which is a specialist in branded entertainment.

eMarketer: What kind of digital media and marketing has Evenflo done?

Craig: Evenflo experimented with banner advertising about two years ago, but otherwise has not done much digital advertising.

eMarketer: Are the webisodes destined for television?

“Using online and print, millennial parents are remarkably targetable.”

Craig: No, this campaign is an online campaign. This is branded entertainment. Using online and print, millennial parents are remarkably targetable. Outside of online and print, it becomes much more difficult for us to justify the spend. We’ve done mostly trade-based media until now.

eMarketer: Have you purchased media to promote the webisodes?

Craig: We’re doing paid media for the first phase of the campaign to get the word out about the webisodes. Our ad buy is on parenting- and mom-oriented sites. We have purchased specific areas on several online hubs, including iVillage, Nickelodeon and Disney Parenting, as well as WebMD, Babble, Parents and CafeMom. Our ads will appear in approximately 500 blogs as well.

In subsequent phases, we’ll use earned media and work closely with independent bloggers. We have a blogger ambassador who has the savvy, knowing voice of Evenflo.

eMarketer: How do you measure the return on investment on the webisodes?

Craig: I should say this is an all new area for Evenflo, so we don’t have a lot of KPIs (key performance indicators) in place. This is very much a test-and-learn campaign. We have ads with video and Flash, so we’ll be testing the effectiveness of those two executions. By working with blog networks, we’re asking bloggers to write about, respond and react and discuss our videos.

For more information at http://www.emarketer.com

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