Staffing: Perfect people for demos

Live marketing events depend on the right choice of people to promote brand and product messages to the public. Lorraine Francisco looks at how selection criteria boosted results for successful campaigns last year.

AGENCY: RPM

CLIENT: Bertolli

CAMPAIGN: Bertolli Rustico pasta sauce

The aim was to drive trial and awareness of the new pasta sauce from Bertolli. The UK campaign took place from 21 March to 25 June 2005 at business parks, shopping centres and train stations, as well as Italian festival La Dolce Vita from 7-11 April at Earls Court.

RPM managing partner Hugh Robertson says: "The focus was on an Italian market-themed stand that featured a fully sensory experience using traditional music, props and specially created aroma pads that emitted the enticing scent of freshly made pasta sauce."

RPM has 3,000 employees on its books. Staff for the Bertolli Rustico pasta sauce campaign had to be "Italian looking men with good communication skills." According to RPM's Robertson "they had to possess good demonstration and cooking skills." Italian speakers were given preference.

RPM began recruiting at the end of January and all staff were trained both on the product and to achieve health and hygiene food certification.

Robertson says: "We recruit brand communicators who are then immersed thoroughly in the client's brand/product so that they are able to understand and communicate the brand message effectively. Brand communicators are also accompanied by a team leader who ensures the team is motivated and trained in all necessary matters to ensure the smooth running of the team and the execution."

He adds: "All staff on our database are interviewed personally before working with us. We then maintain our relationship with the individual, matching them with suitable work and incentivising them on performance."

Over 200,000 samples were distributed at train stations such as Newcastle, London's Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf, and business parks such as Strathclyde. Supermarket activity took place at Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury's. Sales of the sauce increased to 329 jars during the day of the activity from a daily average of five jars. Around 25,600 jars were sold in supermarkets over the full 64 days of the activity.

AGENCY: Lime

CLIENT: Nickelodeon

CAMPAIGN: Jump Up

The nationwide campaign embodied Nick Jnr's motto of "jump up, and join in", to encourage activity among children through creative play.

It took place at London's Regent's Park on 31 July, Sheffield's Norfolk Heritage Park on 17 July, and Birmingham's Perry Park on 24 July. It was the first time Nickelodeon had held Jump Up, which is now an annual event organised by Lime. This year's Jump Up will also take place next month.

Lime business development director Luffa Khnom says: "We started putting feelers out early last year to make sure we had the right kinds of people.

We needed child-friendly staff including promotional marketing staff and actors playing popular characters such as Bob the Builder."

Jump Up had seven experiential character zones, a live stage show featuring Nick Jnr characters and storylines and entertainers dotted around the event.

Khnom says Lime had to hire specialist staff such as balloon model makers, face painters and jugglers. She says: "Nickelodeon's brief was to bring to life Nick Jnr by getting children to join in. We needed quite personable staff who kids could play with, and wanted to promote the healthy attitude of getting kids off the couch to mothers by encouraging children to join in the activity. This created a sense of credibility and trust with mums and created a word-of-mouth element for the campaign."

Over 5,500 visitors attended Jump Up events and 61% of visitors surveyed said it had improved their opinion of Nick Jnr while 83% said the event encouraged children to be active.

Lime has over 2,000 staff within its staffing division and holds UK-wide recruitment days. Khnom adds: "We'll use the same staff again for this year's event. The staff we recruited were actively involving kids and they also won over mums. It's important to get staff to meet the client, so they feel more valued and part of the team. We encourage our staff to come to the staff briefings."

AGENCY: Candour Event Marketing

CLIENT: Surf

CAMPAIGN: Surf Sunshine

The campaign ran from 15 January to 5 February 2005. Promotional staff dressed in bumble bee outfits sang songs, such as 'You Are My Sunshine' and 'Sunshine on a Rainy Day' to evoke the theme that 'Surf Sunshine is so good that the sun shines out of the packs.'

Candour account director Gill Wolstenholme says: "Our brief was to distribute samples of Surf Sunshine while bringing joy and sunshine to the public during a cold and grey time of year and communicating the sunshine fragrance in a theatrical, inspirational and memorable way."

Candour had to ensure it hired staff that could sing and the campaign featured 10 people dressed up as bees and one sunflower. The activity took place at high footfall town centres and shopping areas in Brighton, Cardiff, Croydon, Derby, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Kingston.

Wolstenholme adds: "At intervals staff would stop singing and all the 'bees' would chase the sunflower to create a buzz around the shopping areas."

Candour has a database of around 1,500 staff. Candour staff agency director Mitra Samsami says: "Each brand ambassador received a briefing manual which included song lyrics, costume details and instructions. Staff were also briefed by telephone before the activity took place. Finally, each event manager briefed its team onsite before the activity started, emphasising key messages and including information relevant to the local area."

Samsami advises other agencies on motivating staff. She says: "To be effective an incentive must be perceived as valuable and achievable by the recipient. A number of teams competing for the same incentive can be tricky as there are often uncontrollable variables affecting a team's performance. This can be demotivating if targets cannot be achieved."

AGENCY: Method Two

CLIENT: The Home Office

CAMPAIGN: Let's Keep Crime Down

The Government's initiative aims to warn people of the dangers of being careless with personal and home security. The experiential element of the campaign featured comedy thieves dressed in striped black and white jumpers, a mask and a bag marked 'swag'.

Activity took place from 3-6 January 2005 and all staff had megaphones and were telling people to put their iPods and new mobile phones away.

Method Two managing partner Michael Chester says: "It was reinforcing the above-the-line creative, around London's Underground stations, that if you leave items on show, thieves will steal them." The activity took place in high footfall tube and train stations targeting commuters who automatically took out their mobile phones or MP3 players once they'd departed.

The aim was to raise public awareness of the campaign. Staff were interviewed in character by local TV news stations, newspapers and radio stations.

There was a total of 20 promotional staff. Chester says: "We had to have shifty looking people, the male staff didn't shave on the day, and we did recruit some women as well because we did not want staff to come across too threatening. They also had to be able to act the part."

Method Two has 2,800 staff on its database. Chester adds: "As far as checking staff is concerned, do site visits early on. If you're not happy with the quality of staff, flag it up straight away. Casting days work too."

AGENCY: Loewybe

CLIENT: Brewer Scottish and Newcastle UK(S&N UK)

CAMPAIGN: S&N UK's Biggest Round

S&N UK launched experiential activity to encourage consumers to add Fosters, Kronenbourg, Kronenbourg Blanc, John Smith's and Strongbow to their regular choice of drink at pubs nationwide. The campaign featured a team of over 200 brand ambassadors visiting 4,000 outlets within the M25 over 10 weeks from August to October. Activity also took place at 2,000 other bars during The North's Biggest Round and Midlands' Biggest Round.

Loewybe staff had to be 25 years old or over due to the responsibilities of alcohol sampling. Loewybe account director Sarah Trumble says: "As well as having charismatic personalities, people were selected according to their ability to relate to people of different ages being targeted in the campaign." She added: "Preference was given to people with alcohol sampling experience, and every applicant was interviewed face to face before being selected."

During the campaign over 580,000 trials were delivered. It was so successful that another 10-week campaign kicked off last month. Trumble adds: "Many of the same brand advocates are being employed again. The aim is to create a dedicated S&N UK team, with committed and passionate brand advocates who want to work on this campaign more than any other."


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