Integrated Marketing Communications
Dave Carlson - December 13, 2008
In 2001, Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, founders of Method Products, Inc., chose to compete in a very crowded marketplace of cleaning products. Luring customers away from industry giants like Procter & Gamble, Clorox, and SC Johnson would be no easy task. “For Method to succeed in this category, it had to do what no other brand had done before: reinvent the category by elevating the chore of cleaning into a fun, healthy experience” (Gugajew, 2008, p. 13). Method accomplished that Herculean task through the use of “eye-catching, minimalist packaging presented through innovative merchandising, to a genuine non-toxic philosophy communicated through irreverently fun advertising” (Gugajew, 2008, p. 13).
Method evaluated “the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 22). And put promotion and product at the top of its marketing mix. Method’s primary weapon in the fight for market share was innovative promotion, supported by unique product design and packaging. My favorite Method marketing campaign was a magazine add where they highlighted two kids in a bathtub full of bubbles, with bubbles splashed all over the wall behind the tub. The title of the ad was, “you may not know what your tile tastes like, but your kid does” (Gugajew, 2008, p. 16), implying that kids will lick the tile while they are in the bathtub. The main point of the ad was to emphasize Method’s use of natural safe ingredients in their cleaners “to put the hurt on dirt without harming a hair on you or your family’s heads. Or shoulders, knees, or even tongues” (Gugajew, 2008, p. 16).
Method’s use of storytelling is very effective, because everyone who has had kids can picture their kid licking the bathroom tile during bath time. Most parents are concerned about what their kids put in their mouths. The thought of a kid licking a wall full of a cleaning product gets a parent’s attention. Reading about a cleaning product that would be safe for their child to have in their mouth (although, probably not the best nutritional choice) piques the parent’s interest in learning more about this product.
Consumers love Method’s mantra to make cleaning fun (and safe). The mantra permeates all of Method’s marketing, presenting carefully synchronized and integrated marketing communications to consumers. Method was able to establish a brand that significantly impacted the cleaning products industry. Method’s revenues grew from around $156,000 in 2002 (Gugajew, 2008) to an estimated $100 million in 2008 (Fast Company, 2008). Gugajew (2008) wrapped up her article about Method by observing that “at Method, branding isn’t dead -- it’s alive and well” (p. 18).
Fast Company. (2008). The best time to launch a startup is during a recession. Retrieved December 13, 2008 from http://www.fastcompany.com/big-idea/best-time-launch-startup-during-recession
Gugajew, S. (2008). A method to the creative madness: From chore to experience, a cleaning brand’s meteoric rise to fame. Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, 2008, 12-18. [Electronic version.]. Retrieved December 13, 2008 from http://jimc.medill.northwestern.edu/JIMCWebsite/2008/Method.pdf
Kotler, P. and Keller, K. L. (2009). Marketing management (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.