CRASH TEST BABY!

TitleCRASH TEST BABY!
ClientPIGEON CORPORATION
Product / ServiceRUNFEE STROLLER
CategoryA09. Launch or re-launch
EntrantBLUECURRENT GROUP HONG KONG Hong Kong, HONG KONG
Entrant Company BLUECURRENT GROUP HONG KONG Hong Kong, HONG KONG
PR Agency BLUECURRENT JAPAN Tokyo, JAPAN

The Campaign

Pigeon is a well-established Japanese brand in baby and childcare products, but was struggling to break into the baby stroller sector, which was dominated by two very well established competitors. With the launch of its new stroller, Runfee, Pigeon took a radically different approach to its PR strategy. While other brands focused on being lightweight and foldable, Pigeon concentrated on the most important factor to all parents: Ride quality and therefore baby’s comfort and well-being. Enter Crash Test Baby! Tests by scientists with experience in identifying shaken baby syndrome at respected Japanese research institutes, revealed that the impact to strollers from bumps in strollers could deliver up to five times the force of sudden braking in a car. With Runfee’s larger diameter 16.5 cm wheels it could ride more smoothly over small bumps and steps, giving it superior ‘step-passing performance’. With this powerful insight at the heart of an integrated PR-led campaign featuring visual ‘Crash Test Baby’ demonstrations, the results saw the share of the high-priced stroller market rise from 0.2% to 12.6%, 7,000 units sold within just two months of launch and Pigeon becoming one of the top 3 stroller brands in the stroller market.

The Brief

When Pigeon started advance sales of its new Runfee stroller in December 2014, the goal was to make a strong entry into the stroller market and become a top three stroller brand. To achieve this ambitious target, we needed a PR strategy that raised brand recognition, put Runfee strollers on more retail distributors’ shelves and significantly drove consumer purchase. We needed a unique and powerful storytelling approach that achieved product differentiation from more established competitors.

Results

The campaign generated media exposure worth 14 times (¥150M) more than the invested cost with coverage on six TV/Radio networks, 52 newspapers and magazines and 269 online reports. Sixty percent of this coverage featured the key messages of “large diameter tires” and “step-passing performance”. Market share in the high price stroller category rose from 0.2% to 12.6% from February 2014 to February 2015. Over 200 new retail outlets started carrying Runfee and ‘step-passing performance’ became a new consumer reference for stroller selection. Runfee achieved sales of 7,000 units within just two months of launch, representing 35% of first year projected sales. Pigeon gained a position as one of the top three stroller brands.

Execution

The Tokyo Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology were known for applying new digital human science, physics and simulations to identify causes of shaken baby syndrome. We engaged these institutes’ scientists in ‘Crash Test Baby’ - tests to verify infant safety and comfort when bumping over steps in strollers, then showcased their tests and their findings in our PR execution activities. A product launch press conference revealed the findings that ‘safety is the most important thing for parents when using a stroller, yet less than 1% considered step passing ease when buying a stroller’. We also publicly demonstrated ‘Crash Test Baby’ at the launch to visually show the difference between other strollers and Runfee’s superior ‘step-passing performance’. Given its impact, Runfee’s ‘step-passing performance’ was also featured in TV commercials and through retail point of sale.

The Situation

Stroller sales in Japan top more than 550,000 units a year, just over half the 1 million annual births, with 70% sold in the high price bracket above ¥40,000. Almost 80% of the market was dominated by just two brands: Combi and Aprica including the Graco brand. Pigeon, a well established brand for childcare products with a significant market share in other baby products, struggled in the lucrative stroller market with a 4.6% share, a tiny 0.2% share of the high price stroller market and low brand awareness with 80% of target consumers unaware that Pigeon sold strollers.

The Strategy

Research informed us that mothers-to-be make most stroller purchase decisions, undertaking thorough research through magazines, online and retail. With purchase decisions generally based upon how lightweight and easily foldable the stroller, competitors built their entire PR strategies around these product features. Our insight was a breakthrough moment. What is the one issue far more important to Moms- (and Dads) to-be? Baby’s comfort and well-being of course! With larger diameter wheels of 16.5 cms, the Runfee stroller could cope more easily with steps and bumps delivering a smoother, more comfortable ride for baby. Enter ‘Crash Test Baby’! By engaging recognized institutes of science and technology to conduct scientific testing we discovered that bumps in strollers could deliver up to five times the force of sudden breaking in a car. Crash Test Baby rated Runfee against competitors to demonstrate Runfee’s superior ‘step-passing performance’ in a visual, impactful and effective way.

Credits

Name Company Position
Takanari Yamashita BlueCurrent Japan Senior Account Manager
Kazuya Hirai BlueCurrent Japan Senior Account Executive
Yasuhiro Yamashita BlueCurrent Japan Account Executive
Kei Ogata BlueCurrent Japan Account Executive
Mutsumi Kobukai BlueCurrent Japan Assistant Account Executive