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Spring 2019

Does your serious topic always need a serious spot? Maybe not.

For Graco®, a softer approach worked harder.

Baby happy and crawling around on grass
 
Unless you work in candy or toys, at some point in your career a serious product or service will land on your desk, and you’ll have to figure out the best way to bring it to market.
 
Do you hit them with the cold, hard facts? Do you try to scare them into action? Do you appeal to their logic? All valid strategies to consider. But if you’re marketing your serious product or service with messaging and creative that’s just as serious, you’re probably going to be beating the same drum as everyone else.
 
So how do you stand out from the sea of same? And how do you reconcile a serious approach if your brand’s personality is fundamentally at odds with it?
 
For Graco®, when it came time for the launch of their new ProtectPlus Engineered™ car seat testing standards, the solution was to take a complete 180.
 
“Our car seats go through the most rigorous combination of crash tests,” says Erin Varano, Director, Brand Marketing for Graco® Children’s Products. “We needed to get that message out, but we needed to do it in a way that wouldn’t put moms off, or worse, scare them.”
 
“Instead of scaring moms, our strategy was to reassure them – and hopefully put a little smile on their face at the same time.”

 
“Most safety campaigns take a grim approach, with depictions of harsh car crashes and the aftermath,” adds Chantelle D’Aoust, Account Director at Milestone Integrated Marketing. “But that’s not the Graco® brand. So instead of scaring moms, our strategy was to reassure them – and hopefully put a little smile on their face at the same time.”
 
By staying true to the brand’s DNA, the team conceived and produced a broadcast spot that flips traditional safety campaigns on their head. Out with the car crashes and cold testing facilities, in with the cute kids struggling to take their first steps.
 

 
“The spot is already turning heads and is putting our new safety standards on the map.”

 
“We looked outside the safety category for inspiration and found it in the brand’s essence. Graco® is a brand that reassures parents while helping make them and their kids’ lives easier and more joyous,” says Steve Wallace, Director of Copy/Content at Milestone. “So we crafted a spot that brings those themes to life.”
 
Taking a softer, more lighthearted approach – even for a topic as serious as car seat safety – has proven to be the right move for Graco®.
 
“It’s unlike anything else that’s out there,” says Varano. “The spot is helping set Graco apart when it comes to car seat safety. We love the content so much that we’re finding ways to extend its reach and make it work as hard as possible.”
 
“Without a doubt, there’s a place for serious campaigns with serious creative,” concludes D’Aoust. “But if it doesn’t fit naturally with the tone of your brand, or if your category is overflowing with that kind of marketing, it’s probably in your best interest to consider an alternative strategy.”

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