Special Report: Caroline Riby

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DuPont Nylon Intermediates & Specialties, the DuPont subsidiary that makes chemicals designed to stretch clothing materials, targeted the chemist community for years via traditional vertical titles. Then in April 2000, Caroline Riby, VP-communications director for Rochester, N.Y.-based Saatchi & Saatchi Rowland, suggested the company start to advertise heavily online. After crafting the media buying plans for DuPont Nylon for nearly 10 years, Riby thought it was time to leverage the power of the Web.

And it made perfect marketing sense. Chemists habitually cruise the Web in search of new chemical properties. But before DuPont Nylon started, Riby did some research and discovered what could be a major problem with the online campaign. While chemists like to find new sales leads on the Internet, they generally don’t like chemical companies using it as an advertising medium.

"We had to make sure the ads wouldn’t offend [the target], but would complement them and their need to discover," Riby said, adding that she had to deploy the plan on less than a $500,000 ad budget. Job one was having DuPont Nylon purchase a list of names in the chemist community from DoubleClick Inc. to better target chemists when they’re in research mode.

Through partnerships with Chemical Engineering News, Chemical Online and the American Chemical Society, DuPont Nylon created micro sites more informational and useful than broad banner ads, which turn off chemists. "If we smelled like an ad, we’d scare them off," Riby said.

But then Riby thought of a way to use banners effectively, via the Lycos Inc. search engine. If users searched for a word or a phrase relevant to DuPont Nylon’s products, a banner would pop up asking them if they wanted more information. The unorthodox approach to Web advertising paid off, as DuPont Nylon’s Web response rate jumped 286% from April 2000 to November 2000.

"The company you keep" approach was also behind Riby’s media plan for Du-Pont Surlyn, which produces a key packaging ingredient. "Everybody in packaging knows the company, but feels the product is just too expensive," Riby said. "We used consumers to show the marketing benefits to business customers."

Riby crafted a partnership with Gruner + Jahr USA Publishing’s Family Circle to run DuPont Surlyn’s ads in the monthly to put the company in the best possible light with consumers. Riby’s thinking was that DuPont Surlyn’s brand can bank on increasing demand for quality packaging among consumers.


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