Consumers typically associate Reckitt Benckiser's Lysol brand with disinfectant spray. Yet Lysol has grown to become much more than that, and Reckitt Benckiser created an innovative sampling program to prove it.
The brand donated a whopping 25,000 full-size products, with a total retail value of about $105,000, across all 50 states as part of a cause-marketing program involving Keep America Beautiful, Stamford, Conn.
Along with disinfectant spray, samples included Lysol all-purpose cleaners, wipes, and toilet bowl and bathroom cleaners.
The samples were part of Lysol's national sponsorship of KAB's Great American Cleanup, a national volunteer effort held each March through May involving 30,000 activities in 50 states.
To support specific cleanup sites, Parsippany, N.J.-based Reckitt Benckiser contacted leaders of all KAB affiliates in every state, and gave them the opportunity to use its products as part of the volunteer activities.
Along with aiding in a worthwhile cause, the event enabled the company to explain all the Lysol brand has to offer, Ruth Apgar, senior manager, consumer promotions, Lysol, told SN.
"Many consumers don't know there are so many different types of Lysol products," Apgar said. "This was a great way for us to get the word out."
Volunteers used the products to conduct cleanups at day care centers, senior housing, public transportation shelters, park facilities and schools in cities including Buffalo, Chicago, Miami, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.
"The volunteers were very grateful that they didn't have to go out and buy these products," Apgar noted.
In many cases, Lysol representatives were on hand, not only to help in the cleanup, but also to inform volunteers about the Lysol product portfolio, said Andy O'Hearn, manager, communications and public relations, Reckitt Benckiser.
"We were there to answer questions, and show how our products interrelate," O'Hearn said.
Gail Cunningham, vice president and managing director for KAB's Great American Cleanup, said Reckitt Benckiser is a model example of what corporations can do when they get involved with volunteer programs.
"Lysol's Great American Cleanup sponsorship not only lets volunteers improve the health and quality of life where they live, work and play. It lets them experience the power of the Lysol brand through experiential marketing platforms," Cunningham said. KAB is a national, nonprofit public education organization whose goal is to form partnerships to improve community environments.
An integrated marketing campaign involving media advertising, couponing and supermarket tie-ins supported the Lysol program.
Freestanding newspaper inserts in the brand's top markets featured coupons for five products. They also announced Lysol's participation in the Great American Cleanup. Lysol pledged a 5-cent donation up to $225,000 to KAB for every coupon redeemed on its Lysol cleaning products. The entire amount of $225,000 was donated.
In-store promotions included point-of-sale materials and Lysol shopping-cart ads in about 10,000 grocery stores.
This is the second year in a row that Lysol has worked with Keep America Beautiful. Its 2003 initiative won a Silver Halo Award in the environmental campaign category from the Cause Marketing Forum, Rye, N.Y.
The 2003 program resulted in significant increases in both sales and share for Lysol during the promotion period, according to Apgar.
KAB is an appropriate partner for Lysol, which is seeking to extend the brand's approach from the home -- which is to keep it "clean, vibrant and productive" -- into the community.
"Lysol has a heritage to help American families have a germ-free home," said Apgar.
"As a category leader, we seek to align ourselves with partner organizations based on their having similar missions and values as ours."
Lysol kicked off last year's GAC sponsorship with a media tour that featured Paul Hogan, the butler from the reality show, "Joe Millionaire." Hogan visited a New York City firehouse and gave tips on how to best clean and disinfect it. Lysol donated cleaning products to every firehouse in New York City.
"Every firehouse has to do a major spring cleaning, so firefighters really appreciated the donations," said Apgar.