The largest dry cleaners in the U.S. came to our team for ideas on how to break into the crowded Austin market, where two dominant players control nearly 40% of the total market. The client planned to run its operations primarily through a fleet of 15 vans with drop-off locations embedded in a men’s retail chain, of which it was a subsidiary. The need was to raise awareness of the new dry cleaning service, link it to the retail chain as a means to cross-sell services and prove that the model would be scalable across the country. The client was also the largest dry cleaners using earth-friendly practices, from the natural (non-petroleum) dry cleaning products it used to clean clothes to recycled bags and hangers used to deliver clean clothes back to customers.
Bottom-line: we had to find a way to create a huge impression on ordinary Austinites and encourage word-of-mouth buzz on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We also needed to draw attention to the launch in the local media and complement a radio ad purchase announcing the Austin launch.
The team came up with several options that were turned into storyboards to help the client visualize the concepts. We needed a creative way engage with an audience to make the experience of the brand memorable and worth sharing through social networks.
Because Austin values progressive-leaning that embrace environmentally friendly practices, we decided to time the launch with Earth Day and incorporate a “green” theme with the events we planned.
We planned and executed three roving events using what we called our “Green Guys,” three dapper-dressed men who each wore green costume wigs (think Joker in Batman). [The retail chain provided some sweet gray suits and white shirts the Green Guys wore, by the way.] Two of the Green Guys carried super soaker squirt guns filled with a special green slime concoction. We had a third Green Guy in one of the dry cleaning vans standing by while two searched for a “victim” to call out and squirt with green slime.
We planned two of the events at different locations in downtown Austin all of them with high foot traffic, full of millennials, young families and urban professionals. Our Green Guys started by walking up and down the street to attract lots of attention with their green wigs and super soakers, and to create a sense of suspension as they seemed to look around for something to shoot.
The victim was our fourth non-green guy and was placed in strategic locations in downtown Austin – all of them with high foot traffic, full of millennials, young families and urban professionals. Our Green Guys started by walking up and down the street to attract lots of attention with their green wigs and super soakers, and to create a sense of suspension as they seemed to look around for something or someone to shoot.
When they finally approached a “victim,” who was the fourth member of our team dressed in shorts and a nice white dress shirt, we then had the dry cleaning van arrive in a screeching halt right in front of the attack. The Green Guys then announced they were there to “green slime” the victim, which they did with several squirts of the super soaker. The soaking complete, the van door was thrown open by the third Green Guy and the victim, now covered in green, was hustled into the van by all three Green Guys. Once the van door closed, the victim changed into a smart looking white dress shirt (the same one he had been wearing before). The van rocked back and forth for around 30 seconds, at which point the three Green Guys emerged with a totally clean victim who announced he was just “Green Cleaned” by the dry cleaner. They then handed out marketing collateral that included free dry cleaning offers.
We held our third event at the annual Austin Earth Day Festival, where thousands of Austinites come to hear music, eat great trailer food and see lots of arts, crafts and education displays around a park area. We set up a booth for the dry cleaner, held a drawing for a cool green bike with a banana seat, and installed our Green Guys with super soakers. The Green Guys roamed the festival area and allowed kids to shoot at our victim until he was thoroughly green with slime.
We accompanied all of our events with a social media campaign designed to stimulate a conversation online, encourage social sharing and raise the dry cleaners’ brand awareness. We created hashtags for the event and monitored social chatter during the event stunts. We took video of the Green Guy attacks and share it on Facebook and Twitter. We saw pictures from viewers of the events posted to Twitter and re-shared them. At the Earth Day event we set up iPads and took the names of people who wanted to receive coupons and try out the dry cleaners’ mobile service. We created signage and marketing collateral for the various events to drive even more brand awareness and customer inquiries. We also reached out to the local media with a variety of news triggers, from announcing a new dry cleaners coming to Austin to emphasizing the cleaners’ earth-friendly practices in the run-up to Earth Day.
The agency helped establish a strong foothold for the dry cleaners in Austin. Between three social networks and our iPad contact capture strategy, we grew the number of contacts by 1000s in just four weeks.
Media mentions were numerous and included:
- Austin American-Statesman
- Fox News 7
- Austin Business Journal
- Community Impact News
- KOOP Radio
The events were witnessed by 100s of Austinites, generating social media mentions on Twitter and Facebook, even laughs and applause from the audience. We created a memorable impression in the minds of those who saw the events, and provided a strong call-to-action by handing out marketing collateral. We tied the events in a clever way to an authentic part of the dry cleaners’ story – its embrace of environmentally friendly business practices – while at the same time pegging it to the socially aware ethos shared by so many Austinites.
The customer was happy with our work and continues to enjoy growth to this day.