Campaign Trail is our look at some of the best and worst new creative efforts from the marketing world.
This week, Marketing Dive's editors focus on three promotions centered on serving the consumer, including one that capitalizes on Memorial Day travelers' need for a clean bathroom, another that encourages better sleep habits and a clever Instagram stunt that deployed cape-wearing delivery people:
Cintas helps Memorial Day road-trippers find clean toilets
The rundown: Facility services company Cintas is trying to take potty talk to a new level this Memorial Day weekend by promoting its restroom-finder app "Got to Go" that helps road-trippers find clean bathrooms along their route.
With the community-powered mobile app, users can view a map showing nearby restrooms labeled with one of three colored icons: green for clean, top-rated bathrooms, yellow for dirty ones and blue for those that have yet to be rated. They can then click on an icon for details of what others have to say about the facilities based on categories of cleanliness, supply stock level, whether it's open to the public or paying customers only and, yes, the smell.
The free iOS and Android app is linked to Google Maps and Apple Maps, so bathroom-seekers can click on an icon and get turn-by-turn directions to find the most convenient spot along their route.
The results: As a facilities services company, it makes sense that Cintas created a clean restroom-finder app. "Got to Go" originally launched in February, and so far, it's been used nearly 29,000 times, the company said in a press release. The brand is clearly looking to boost those figures for the notoriously busy Memorial Day weekend, as 3.65 million Americans are expected hit the road for a holiday many deem to be the unofficial start of the summer season.
The app is fairly limited in what it has to offer, and many people might not care as much about finding a clean toilet along their route. But for others taking long drives this weekend, the prospect of easily finding an agreeable pit stop could be a major draw: According to a survey by Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America, 74% of people said they'd go out of their way to find a clean restroom while on a road trip.
Ikea's print ad lulls readers to sleep
The rundown: Swedish furniture giant Ikea, not content to just sell beds, also wants to put people to sleep. At least, that's the intention behind a funky new print ad running in the Middle East and made with the retailer's United Arab Emirates (UAE) agency Memec Ogilvy.
According to Ad Age's Creativity blog, the "Sömnig" ad emits a white noise frequency and lavender aroma that are shown to help speed along trips to dreamland. The insert can be ripped out and assembled in a manner similar to the brand's furniture to sit more comfortably on nightstands, as highlighted in a YouTube tutorial video below.
The results: Who says print advertising's on its way out the door? Well, a lot of statistics, but that hasn't stopped brands from innovating in the space. Ikea's been on a particularly hot streak lately, with Sömnig following up on a pregnancy test promotion the brand ran earlier this year, where readers could pee on a magazine excerpt to see if they were with child and then get a discount on baby cribs.
The compact sleep machine isn't a one-off novelty, either. The Sömnig comes with a USB cable and charging port for repeat uses. The product was inspired by research showing that nine in 10 people in the UAE aren't getting the daily recommended eight hours of sleep, and that nearly one-third are sleeping for just six hours per day.
Ikea's effort fits into a broader trend of marketers getting creative in encouraging consumers to catch more shut-eye. The online mattress company Purple last year streamed intentionally boring content over Facebook Live to knock its followers out, and Samsung in December released an hour-long "movie" that showed nothing but the full cycle of one of its washing machines.
Care/of ramps up vitamin market disruption with Instagram promotion
The rundown: Care/of, a newcomer on the vitamin scene, leveraged Instagram and same-day delivery to help it launch a product called Quick Sticks on May 23 in New York City, according to Adweek. The line of products consists of five different flavored vitamin powders that come in stick-shaped packaging and don't need to be mixed with water to provide on-the-go convenience. Each flavor is designed for a specific need like an immune boost or a good night's sleep.
A review of Care/of's Instagram account reveals the brand teased the launch for its followers with posts on several days before. The day of the launch, it encouraged Instagram users in NYC to comment on a post about the new line so the brand could send them a direct message, find out their location and dispatch someone wearing a Care/of cape to deliver the product.
The results: Care/of was launched in 2016 with a monthly subscription box of vitamins and supplements that can be personalized. The company is yet another example of the type of direct-to-consumer brands that are disrupting a market with new distribution models, competitive pricing and unique marketing in a space dominated by more traditional wholesale brands.
In this case, the stuck-in-the-past category is vitamins, where sales are growing at a healthy pace even as brick-and-mortar retailers like GNC struggle. Care/of's model has already been executed successfully in a number of other categories, including private label packaged goods and sneakers.
The effort also points to Instagram’s growing role as a marketing platform — which is likely only to accelerate now that action buttons for brands have been expanded and as marketers continue to look for ways to reach younger consumers. Care/of's promotion highlights what some of the successful tactics might be on the platform. By building a list of 68,000 followers with its colorful packaging and fun content, the brand was able to cost-effectively target and build excitement for the launch of its new product. Having the product delivered the same day by caped employees provided a unique experience that likely deepened the brand's relationship with customers and generated positive word of mouth. The post about the delivery garnered 895 likes on Instagram.