Rémy Martin Gets Interesting With Campaign

On election night at the Hyde Park Hair Salon in Chicago, where Barack Obama gets his hair cut, more than a hundred neighbors and friends toasted the historical outcome with a cocktail provided by spirits company Rémy Cointreau, called “The Obama Knockout” (Rémy Martin cognac, Cointreau, cranberry juice and pineapple). The nod to history is just one aspect of Rémy Martin’s new marketing campaign, which runs through November and turned exclusively to out-of-home and alternative media to build sales for the critical holiday season.

Along with holding stealth VIP parties for  consumers, Rémy Cointreau took out an unprecedented array of both traditional and nontraditional out-of-home media, including directional audio technology, street-level billboards, animated ads in subway tunnels, text messaging, graffiti gates, projected images, even holographic street mats.

More and more, advertisers are considering OOH as a three-dimensional medium that can overcome the limitations of traditional media. “Outdoor lends itself to the innovation that you see in the digital world, but is physically out there,” said Martha Peterson, managing partner, account leader at Mediaedge:cia, which planned the Rémy campaign. “It can provide a 360-degree engagement.”

Plans for the campaign began in May, based on Rémy’s “Things are getting interesting” creative, developed by La Comunidad. Nationally, Rémy was being outspent in the marketplace, so it was looking to do something different than the usual combination of print and radio, relying on a more targeted approach in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami. “For most of our competition, print is the battleground. We wanted to be more focused and creative, and that meant outdoor,” said Roberto Cruz, brand director at Rémy Martin. “We felt it was a great way to engage the consumer, where they live, where they buy the product and where they party.”

Rémy provided Kinetic, which organized and bought the campaign, with a list of its top accounts to pinpoint specific neighborhoods, clubs and lounges where its young male target could be found.

For the largest displays, Kinetic broke the boundaries of traditional billboards. In New York, Kinetic worked with Pearl Media to create an interactive, street-level billboard that resembled a night club, complete with muffled dance music. Pedestrians that knocked on a three-dimensional door were greeted by a video bouncer peering from behind a speakeasy slider, who asks for a password. Text messaging information provided pedestrians with the locations of Rémy’s secret parties, and a password to get in. “The object is to get people to interact with the brand,” said Josh Cohen, president of Pearl Media. “It’s less about an impression and more about engagement.”

To target specific locations, Rémy’s campaign employed directional audio technology to beam dance music directionally to passersby, a technology used only once before, for A&E’s award-winning campaign for Paranormal States.

A host of guerrilla-style OOH tactics were also used, especially in New York; they included wild postings (posters in hard-to-reach areas), graffiti gates (spray-painted building entrances, provided by Zoom Media), even holographic street mats (provided by National Media Services) resembling an open hatch with a stairway leading down.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” said Robin Yablonski, business director for Kinetic. “We had a lot of digging to hunt down the right vendor. Some of these things haven’t been done before.”