The Women's Health division of Wyeth, a pharmaceutical and health care company, needed a way to spruce up its brand image for the three-day American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) conference this past May.
The company has a well-established industry presence, and some of its products have been on the market for almost 65 years. As a result, Wyeth—with help from exhibit planning and production company Exhibitgroup/Giltspur (EG)—decided to take its traditional booth in a new direction.
“Wyeth has been such a leader for a number of years,” said Terry Campanaro, VP-client relations, health care for EG. The challenge was to ask: “How do they remain fresh, educate their target audience and be able to promote a well-established product? How do they entice attendees to come in and want to learn about the products? We had to think outside of the box, get the attendees in to see what they didn't know about Wyeth.”
Wyeth and EG decided to base the interactive booth around the needs of New Orleans, the venue for the event, and combine that with Wyeth's tagline, “Advancing the science and care in women's health.” As a result, Wyeth donated $25,000 to Rebuilding Together, a nonprofit company dedicated to building new homes for Gulf Coast families who had lost theirs in Hurricane Katrina.
“Our brand is to help women, and this charity had a lot to do with helping families and single mothers who had lost their homes,” said Cindy McCormick, associate director of global congress and conventions at Wyeth.
Next, through direct mail, 42 hours of in-room hotel television advertising and ads on 21 shuttle bus TV monitors, the company informed attendees about its donation. It also asked attendees to come to its booth and show support by adding their signatures to Wyeth's Giving Circle—a 12-foot-high plastic wall in the center of the company's booth.
“We had a poster in the booth with facts about how the charity specifically benefited women,” McCormick said. “We also had people from the charity in the booth explaining the charity and providing brochures in case attendees wanted to give on their own.”
Ultimately, the event was hugely successful. Of the 3,500 attendees, 1,300 signed the Giving Circle wall. The company saw a 22% increase in booth attendance from the year before and booth visitors spent an average of 2 minutes and 13 seconds longer at the booth. Additionally, an independent site survey found the event was the most recalled exhibit of the ACOG conference.
“We definitely saw a lot of interest and a lot of participation,” said Campanaro. “The good part for Wyeth is that they are an established leader. A lot of products have been on the marketplace for 65 years, but if there are not any new indications, why should attendees come to learn more? Being the most recalled exhibit, driving more traffic and having attendees spending more time [than] in the years prior was a success.”
Though the donation cost the company $25,000 on top of booth costs, Campanaro said: “I think that we all felt that it had a great return on our investment at this particular show. ... Our idea was giving back to the local community. Giving back to an organization that would leverage Wyeth's tagline and give back to women.” M
HOW WYETH USED PHILANTHROPY TO BOOST BOTH BOOTH TRAFFIC AND ITS BRAND
Objective: Create traffic to booth for a company with well-established market presence and generate interest in products, some of which have been in the marketplace for 65 years. Establish a fresh look at a familiar brand for event attendees who assume they already know what the company has to offer.
Emphasize brand message of assisting women by making a donation to a local charity, then promoting the donation in an interactive way to draw attendees to the booth.
Significantly increased traffic to the booth from previous years; developed extremely high interest in interactive exhibit; and event attendees rated the booth the most memorable installation at the conference.