Mars Getting ‘N Sync With Teens

Promo Links Pop Band to SmithKline Beecham’s Acne Ointment
DETROIT–Mars Advertising has designed a multifaceted campaign that links pop band ‘N Sync with SmithKline Beecham’s Oxy Balance acne prevention ointment.
The Southfield, Mich., agency has created print and radio ads, point-of-purchase displays, venue signage, an on-pack offer, a specially designed Web site and a national sweepstakes supporting the partnership between ‘N Sync and the pimple treatment.
The theme for all efforts is, “Face the music.”
Linking the band with the cream makes sense since music is integral in the lives of teenagers, whom the product targets, said Ken Barnett, Mars’ chief operating officer.
Spending on the effort was undisclosed, but the project represents a shift in the company’s approach to advertising the product, said Pat Malone, SmithKline Beecham senior category promotion manager. While past efforts have focused on TV, radio was deemed more targeted because teen radio stations are so clearly identifiable, Malone said.
“Both Pat and I have 14-year-old daughters, so we know the demographic well,” Barnett said. “‘N Sync appeals to both males and females. They’re wholesome and well-thought-of, and their music is very contemporary.” The band was recently named the favorite new pop/rock artist of the year at the American Music Awards.
The sweepstakes, linked to the band’s 50-venue tour launching in March, will include four grand prize winners. Each winner and nine of their friends will travel to Florida for an all-expense-paid two-day trip, including tickets to an ‘N Sync concert and pre-concert sound check.
Based on the average age of ‘N Sync’s fans, many audience members during the tour may be attending their first rock concert. To capitalize on this, Mars has created a special promotional item–a commemorative ticket frame–that will be handed out to a limited number of concert attendees at 40 of the tour stops.
Sweepstakes information and details on an ‘N Sync poster offer will be featured in national newspaper inserts and teen magazines.
SmithKline Beecham spent about $7.7 million through the first 11 months of 1998 on Oxy Balance ads, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Oxy Balance paired with the TV show Beverly Hills 90210 five years ago for a promotion. “[That effort] was not to the level of success we’ve had so far with this,” Malone said.

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