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BtoB's Best Marketers: Saga Shoffner, Owens-Illinois

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Saga Shoffner joined Owens-Illinois as the glass packaging company prepared to reposition its brand and introduce a campaign centered on the quality, health and environmental benefits of its product. It was a message that resonated with the former associate advertising director of Nike, who relocated from the West Coast to Toledo, Ohio, to steer the company's “Glass Is Life” campaign. “Even before coming to O-I, I was a strong believer in glass,” Shoffner said. “I eat fresh food, and I'm healthy. Having my food and drink in glass has always been important. My personal belief guides my advocacy. It's the reason I took the job.” Shoffner made a bet that O-I customers would also relate to the campaign on a personal level. She repositioned media buys, moving beyond the company's traditional trade-only channels to consumer publications such as National Geographic and The Economist. She built a b-to-b-to-c play that would resonate with packaging buyers and their customers. The “Glass Is Life” microsite forms the core of the campaign, and O-I recruited customers and environmental advocates to record video segments in support of glass packaging. The campaign touched a nerve; more than 234,000 people have liked “Glass Is Life” on Facebook, and its Twitter feed has more than 4,000 followers. High-profile packaging customers have signed on to tell their stories on the site, aligning their brands with the “Glass Is Life” message. In September, representatives from Jack Daniel Distillery and Left Hand Brewing Co. appeared in videos lauding the taste and quality benefits of glass. The attention has stoked O-I employee pride, Shoffner said. “"Glass Is Life' has been a door-opener,” she said. “The company is making a strategic shift, moving from a b-to-b trade mindset and a commodity business to become a brand partner with our customers. We help them bring innovation and differentiation to the marketplace.”
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