Amid rise in rivals, Consumer Reports debuts first brand campaign

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Consumer Reports wants to remind consumers that it's still relevant—and, in fact, with the rise of questionable apps and privacy concerns, more so than ever. The 82-year-old nonprofit is debuting its first brand campaign this week to increase awareness as a growing number of rivals court the millennial audience.

"We realized we have this exceptional brand with an extremely loyal base, but we also realized there are a lot of consumers who don't know who we are and what we stand for," says Leonora Wiener, senior VP of brand and strategy of the Yonkers, New York-based organization. She says that many shoppers do not know Consumer Reports is an independent nonprofit that derives its funding from memberships, not advertising.

In a 60-second spot, a sea of Consumer Reports' asterisks leads viewers through everyday activities as a voice-over explains the brand's mission. "Not everything is quite as it seems. Sometimes, there's more to the story," the voice-over says, noting that Consumer Reports has helped to make seatbelts standard, for example. "Let's keep it honest," ends the spot, which will also air in 30-and 15-second versions on digital channels and on Consumer Report's social media. The company worked with BBH on creative and MODCo on media buying duties.

Earlier this week, Consumer Reports made waves in the auto industry when it said it will not recommend Tesla's new Model 3 because of issues with braking and controls. Wiener says that Elon Musk responded to the review with a promise to fix such problems. "It constantly pushes the manufacturers to achieve a better level of product," she says.

While Consumer Reports is still a trusted source when it comes to cars, millennial shoppers are also turning to other review sites, such as Wirecutter, for their purchases. The New York Times bought Wirecutter, and its sibling site Sweethome, for $30 million in 2016. This month, New York agency Figliulo & Partners introduced Quiddity, a new product review sites that uses an algorithm to provide scores.

In 2016, Consumer Reports introduced an updated website and made its reviews mobile-accessible. Earlier this year, it debuted a concierge service and product recall tracker in response to consumer demand.

"Our whole effort has been to reach new consumers where they are and remind them that we're not just here for the car purchases—we're here for the day-to-day life as well," adds Wiener.

Consumer Reports spends around $60 million on its marketing each year. This campaign is a multi-million-dollar push, according to a spokeswoman.

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