Non-surgical fat-reduction treatment brand CoolSculpting has received significant and consistent consumer news coverage since its initial launch in 2010 through FDA clearance and other product announcements. With the competitive landscape expanding, the brand was seeking a way to reinforce its market leadership, elevate its brand profile and reinvigorate media interest.
To achieve these objectives, the company tasked their agency of seven years, GOLD PR with the development of a visibility campaign. The firm recommended a celebrity partnership that would serve three objectives: to elevate the CoolSculpting brand presence among consumers; drive brand messaging, including the pending FDA clearance for the chin (the newest anticipated clearance); and provide media outlets that had covered or are new to the brand a new angle to a well-covered story.
“We were working in a saturated news environment, trying to raise visibility for a mature product. Although CoolSculpting is the market leader among non-invasive fat reduction technologies, the fat reduction market—and corresponding media coverage about fat reduction treatments—had been covered, multiple times,” says Shari Gold, Founder and CEO of GOLD PR. “And we had already received such significant and consistent coverage for CoolSculpting since its initial launch in 2010. the CoolSculpting ‘story’ was not new so we had to bring new, creative and timely angles to pique media interest.”
Read on to see how GOLD PR overcame this and other obstacles to meet and exceed its objectives—earning the firm and its client a Bronze Award in the “Best Use of Personality/Celebrity” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2017 Media Relations Awards.
The Strategy: Given the importance of media marketability, relevance to the target audience and budget, Molly Sims was identified as an ideal CoolSculpting brand advocate. The brand had successfully engaged with lifestyle experts and influencers over the years, but never with a celebrity who was willing to speak openly and honestly about her own struggles related to looking and feeling her best through different life stages. Sims, 43, is an actress/model/author and mother of three who experienced positive results from CoolSculpting following the birth of her first child. “Molly had a very unique, organic story to share she and was extremely transparent about changes she experienced in her body post-baby. As a former supermodel and mom of two (now mom of three!), she had an authentic, credible and highly personal narrative to share with reporters, which resulted in more thorough, thoughtful and personal media stories,” said Gold.
With Sims on board, the firm put its plan into action by conducting top-tier media relations to broadly announce the partnership and position Sims as the new CoolSculpting brand ambassador. This included lining up a national TV exclusive with an evening entertainment show, a Satellite Media Tour, and staging two media tours in New York City.
The first tour focused on “Getting your body back after baby,” which helped women realize that although Sims is an actress and model, she struggles in many of the same ways most women do when it comes to feeling the pressure to “bounce right back” after having a child. She shared honest dialogue and tips that helped her get back to her old self on her schedule and in her own way, which happened to include CoolSculpting. Her style was relatable and inspired so many women.
The second media tour and all additional media outreach focused on “looking and feeling good in your own skin,” which helped women realize that even celebrities have those “real” moments where they might feel insecure about their bodies. As Sims shared ways to overcome those insecurities, key messages were designed to be motivational and encouraging to women.
“Timing was a significant factor in our overall strategy and the catalyst for shifts in our campaign,” Gold relates, outlining three key challenges:
- “We had to be aware of related or conflicting events happening in New York City that would occupy the time of our target reporters, including Fashion Week and other beauty events/launches.”
- “We wanted to leverage an additional indication that the brand was expecting from the FDA to add a level of newsworthiness to the overall brand ambassador announcement, so this milestone helped guide timing of activities.”
- “Lastly, everything was at the mercy of our celebrity spokesperson and her calendar/schedule.”
Following the media tour, the team also arranged ongoing top-tier print, broadcast, online and radio media interviews to tell Sims’ story. “Many of the beauty reporters and influencers we were targeting during this campaign were familiar with CoolSculpting, and/or had covered the treatment previously. With the Molly Sims campaign, we were able to present these outlets with new and different angles for covering the CoolSculpting story via Molly’s personal experience,” Gold explains.
The Execution: The campaign timeline was one year and program elements were designed to pique media interest at different points throughout the year in an effort to avoid media fatigue with the story. Foundational materials to help tell the story were developed at the start of the campaign. These included:
- Press release announcing the campaign, fact sheet and key message documents, and Molly Sims’ bio
- Photo and video shoot (“Behind the scenes” footage with Molly Sims)—an exclusive interview with “E! News” prior to first media day
“Media relations efforts were focused specifically on securing national coverage. This included top morning shows, entertainment shows, women’s lifestyle magazines, top-tier consumer health and beauty websites,” says Gold.
At the launch of the campaign, a press release was issued, followed by a Satellite Media Tour and a media day in New York City, where Molly personally met with and conducted interviews with top-tier women’s magazines and broadcast shows. Following the media day, opportunistic media efforts and social media programs were conducted to maintain momentum and interest in the story. GOLD PR executed a successful Twitter party on the heels of the media day to maintain additional interest and reach.
“For this campaign, delivering content via the celebrity’s channels and the brand channels ensured broad message reach to key audiences,” Gold says. “Co-hosting the Twitter party with a highly influential blogger group (in addition to our celebrity) proved successful in driving positive impressions for the brand, and showed impact on website traffic via social shares.”
The second media day kicked off four months into the campaign and focused on reaching similar outlets (national broadcast, women’s magazines and targeted top-tier online health/beauty outlets) with an emphasis on CoolSculpting’s newest FDA clearance. The second media day was followed by a Facebook Sweepstakes that provided one individual (and a guest) the opportunity to meet Molly in NYC. Custom content was developed for Molly and CoolSculpting’s social channels for the duration of the campaign.
The Results: Results exceeded original expectations. The campaign earned substantial media coverage during our media days and in the months that followed through opportunistic outreach. From a social media perspective, the Twitter party tremendously exceeded expectations, delivering 2,664 tweets and 7.2MM impressions. They also saw a 40 percent increase in new users on social media, compared to the previous month.
Here’s a rundown of the impressive results:
- Over 70 media placements with nearly 300 million consumer impressions
- Coverage in top-tier broadcast, print and online outlets, including: Meredith Vieira, E!, The View, ABC.com, People, Allure.com, InStyle.com, Vanity Fair, Yahoo! Beauty, US Weekly, NewBeauty, LivingHealthy.com, AOL.com, iVillage, Examiner.com, Theory of Life, emedicalnews, Food World News, Stuff.nz, Celebrity Intelligence, Fashion Monitor, Beauty.lets, Examiner.com, The View, Sirius XM, MSN Wonderwall, Access Hollywood, Sunday World, People.com, Extra (ran 2x), Family Circle, extra.com, Abc.com, AccessHollywood.com, Elle, Mom.me, AOL, Skinny Mom, CBSNews.com, US Weekly, IHeart Radio, and the NY Post
- Satellite Media Tour resulted in ~22 TV and radio segments (local and national coverage)
- Twitter Party: Topline results #fearnomirror
Key Takeaways: During the course of the campaign, Gold says the team was reminded of some valuable lessons that are common with these types of partnerships, including:
- Start negotiations with the celebrity spokesperson’s team early: “Prepare to spend several months finalizing that agreement—and plan the campaign launch date with this in mind.”
- Prepare for the unexpected—and unplanned costs!: “Celebrities have ever-changing calendars and a variety of expectations and requests. Include a ‘buffer’ for potential incremental costs that may be incurred as a result of activities shifting or changing during the campaign.”
- Have a backup plan for media interviews: “There will always be something happening the day of your media tour. Plan ahead, have a contingency plan if interviews get cancelled or shifted and lock this into your initial agreement with celebrity to ensure opportunities are not missed.”
Secrets of Success: Gold provides some insights and tips that you can also use when planning your next personality-focused campaign—demonstrating why GOLD PR and its client won a Bronze in Bulldog’s 2017 Media Relations Awards:
- Choose your spokesperson carefully: “Identify a spokesperson that is relatable and resonates well with the target audience and offers a valuable, credible story that connects with the brand.”
- Bring in fresh angles: “Not all celebrities carry equal weight with media—even though you’re pitching a celebrity, you still have to present something ‘new’ to media to obtain coverage.”
- Plan ahead—and be ready to take advantage of surprises: “Media days are short and can only accommodate a limited number of media interviews. To ensure the biggest result from your celebrity investment, make sure to develop a robust content calendar designed to generate opportunistic media coverage in between media days.”