GyroHSR's “John Deere Smackdown” integrated campaign used print ads, direct mail and video to introduce Deere's new skid steer construction lift vehicle—and take on the market-leading vehicle from Bobcat Co. The campaign featured a series of competitions at an automobile race track in North Carolina, with the Deere product taking on all comers.
Tom Rentschler, chief creative director North America, at GyroHSR, said the agency's efforts not only helped introduce users to Deere's construction equipment (the company is better known in the agricultural arena) but also helped loosen up Deere's tradition-laden reputation with its tongue-in-cheek approach.
A print ad, for example, specifically targeted Deere's main competitor in the small lifting machine arena, Bobcat, featuring the headline, “Here, kitty, kitty.”
Explaining the Best of Show choice, BtoB Editor Ellis Booker said the “Smackdown” videos were a staff favorite. “Think of a raucous truck pull, complete with heavy metal music and ESPN-style editing,” he said.
Booker also moderated a Q&A with all 11 top marketers in attendance, who discussed adjusting to the deep recession, their plans for the recovery and their use of new tactics, specifically social media.
“We're looking at increasing margins and growing the top line,” said Kodak's Hayzlett. “We plan to spend more on advertising, but primarily it's about our channel partners, giving them the tools to succeed like never before.”
Phil Clement, CMO of insurance brokerage Aon Corp., took a more cautious approach, stating, “We're not talking about a recovery yet. That's too optimistic. What we're focusing on is credibility and loyalty.”
The marketing role of social media was acknowledged by all the marketers on stage, especially its usefulness in listening to customers and addressing their needs.
“It provides our customers with excellent support,” said Paul Dunay, global managing director-services and social marketing for telecommunications company Avaya.
Monte Beck, VP-small business marketing with Verizon Telecom, agreed. “Social media provides us the opportunity to provide better customer care,” he said. “We're most excited about developing a platform to allow our customers to network and share ideas, with us and each other.”
That said, several panelists came to the defense of traditional media, saying it remained a viable marketing channel.
“We see traditional media as a means of driving people to our Web site,” said Tom Haas, CMO of Siemens Corp. “As a technological company, we can't include a lot of information in traditional media, so we structure it to drive people to our site where they can dive deeper.”
That sentiment was echoed by Michael Mendenhall, senior VP-CMO of Hewlett-Packard Co.
“People consume media in different ways, in particular based on their generation,” he said. “Marketing has to take an integrated approach because of the different ways people prefer to digest information.”
The BtoB's Best luncheon drew 140 attendees. M