Memorex remembers family in 50th anniversary initiative

Memorex, which became well known to consumers in the 1970s as a maker of cassette tapes, turned 50.

Client: Memorex (Oakdale, MN)
PR agency: Padilla Speer Beardsley (Minneapolis)
Campaign: Memorex Celebrates 50 years with Yo Gabba Gabba!
Duration: June 1-September 30
Budget: $200,000

Memorex, which became well known to consumers in the 1970s as a maker of cassette tapes, turned 50 last year. As technology has evolved, so has the company, which today makes hundreds of electronics, including iPod docks and Wii accessories.

To raise awareness of the 50th anniversary and directly engage families, Memorex and AOR Padilla Speer Beardsley threw a virtual birthday party with popular children's TV show Yo Gabba Gabba!

Specific goals included driving sales of PartyCube sound systems and PurePlay portable speakers and increasing Facebook likes by 20%.

Research showed parents want "more we time," and PartyCube and PurePlay are both highly interactive, says Jessica Walton, consumer marketing director for Memorex's parent Imation Corp.

"We want to build advocates and show how we can help families spend more time together," she adds.

Strategy
Tom Jollie, SVP of consumer marketing at Padilla, says the TV show's family audience and focus on singing and dancing made it a great partner.

Yo Gabba Gabba! produced the virtual party in its Los Angeles studio. It was broadcast live September 9 on Ustream and available through September 16.

A Facebook video contest, blogger partnerships, giveaways, and outreach to online media outlets drove engagement.

Tactics
The Facebook contest launched July 11. Entrants uploaded videos of their child dancing to a Yo Gabba Gabba! song to Memorex's Facebook page for a chance to win products.

Judges selected 20 finalists who were encouraged to drive votes on Facebook between August 8 and 21. Ten finalists won Memorex products. The grand prize included numerous products and a trip to Los Angeles to attend the party live.

Promotion began in June with press releases, outreach to bloggers who reach moms, and Facebook posts and ads.

Yo Gabba Gabba! drove contest awareness on its Facebook page, website, and email blasts.

Media outreach included a mat release with tips for throwing toddler birthday parties.

Sixteen family bloggers were recruited as ambassadors, posting reviews and campaign information and hosting giveaways. They got "party kits" to help facilitate a celebration.

The 15-minute live-to-tape party event ran for an hour on Ustream on September 9. Yo Gabba Gabba! cast members appeared and recurring show guest Leslie Hall emceed. The event included a live chat on Ustream with the agency team and Yo Gabba Gabba! staffers responding as show characters.

The live audience received wrapped PartyCubes and PurePlays. Virtual guests got Memorex products and Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! tour tickets.

Results
Walton reports that PartyCube and PurePlay sales more than doubled, retail relationships were bolstered, and Facebook response exceeded expectations.

"We gained permanent placement of PurePlay in Target," she says. "We also had record sales there on Black Friday."

Padilla reports nearly 30,000 people participated in the contest, voted, and watched the Ustream event. Facebook likes rose by 1,130 to 3,419, and monthly active users increased from 876 to 5,301 (July 1 to September 16). Women fans aged 25 to 34 increased by 7%.

Nearly 900 stories ran in online outlets including about.com and parents.com.

Future
The "we time" theme will carry forward, says Walton. Another event with Yo Gabba Gabba! is under consideration.

PRWeek's View
This tightly focused anniversary celebration certainly paid off for Memorex in terms of strengthening relationships with both customers and retailers. Yo Gabba Gabba!, which was very well aligned across target audiences and the products, added a lot of value in producing the party, driving the contest, and participating in the live chat. The contest itself was also nicely aligned. No doubt this team will find a creative way of executing on the "we time" focus, one that seems to resonate really well going forward.

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