Sierra, the first nationally marketed antifreeze to bill itself as "essentially non-toxic," hasn't toned down its non-traditional approach despite a legal challenge last year.
In this year's campaign, the Omaha-based company continues to use emotional appeal to convey that the product is safer for children and pets than other brands.
Last year, Sierra settled out of court in a false-advertising lawsuit filed by Prestone marketer First Brands Corp. One of the biggest points of contention was an ad claim that Sierra's "essentially non-toxic formula guards against poisoning of children and pets."
"Our ad campaign this year is a little different. We are emphasizing even more strongly than we did last year the safety message," said Joel Adamson, Safe Brands director of marketing. Because of the settlement, he said he couldn't discuss if advertising changes were a direct result of the settlement.
Despite the agreement, little has changed in Sierra's message. One new 30-second spot uses several shots of children and pets to narrate that the antifreeze is "safer for kids and pets." One child says, "That's what my dad cares about."
In the spots, the basic ideas still exist, but some of the wording has been softened and a warning to parents has been superimposed on all spots. It reads, "Parents store safely, not for drinking."
Sierra bases the "essentially non-toxic" claim on the fact that it is made with propylene glycol, while other coolants contain ethylene glycol.
An estimated $8 million campaign, produced by the Gillespie Organization, Princeton, N.J., began Sept. 24. The campaign features two :30s, supported by radio and print in trade publications.
The theme line remains, "It's not just antifreeze. It's safety freeze."