Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Personal Interview with Leo Burnett- Exoticas Advertising Agency

Exotica Advertising Agency - H&C LEO BURNETT

I visited Leo Burnett personally to learn more about their Company in order to have a more accurate research. I had an interview with Mr. Lynn Barghout, who is the director of H&C Leo Burnett, beirut.

Lamis : When did Leo Burnett first emerge?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: Leo Burnett was born in Michigan in 1891. In college, he studied journalism. It was his father who first opened Leo’s eyes to advertising while laying out an ad for his store. All his father needed was wrapping paper, a yardstick, and a big black pencil. Leo Burnett’s first job in advertising was as a copywriter for the Cadillac Motor Company.
1974 → The Agency first opened its doors in the Middle East & North Africa by starting a company in Beirut, Lebanon, with 8 employees, four clients, and $300,000 worth of billings. Because of its solid contribution to its clients’ businesses, the Agency’s reputation grew, and with it, so did its business.

Lamis: What is Leo Burnett all about?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: We have always been a very human kind of company. Simple. Straight-forward. Down-to-earth. Call it common sense. But we’ve always tried to talk to people like people and treat people the way they like to be treated. We believe everything that matters in our business begins and ends with two things: people and behavior.
We understand that people, in this day and age, are in control. They don’t need us to find out information nor to be heard. They want our messages to be significant and meaningful. We understand that we have to address their needs by creating Humankind Acts, deeds instead of words that change people’s behavior. We believe that creativity has the power to transform human behavior.

Lamis: Who do you concider Exoticas Target Audience?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: People who love giving gifts that others will appreciate and would love to have. The people who expect flowers from Exotica and feel more pampered when they do receive them from there specifically. Anyone who has the intention to buy flowers is a potential customer for Exotica. We do not segment our people based on lifestyle, age or gender. 

Lamis: What Media Mix do you most rely on? And why?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: Use of billboards mainly as well as in store branding and online campaigns. Few years ago, we have established a permanent outdoor network that became down the road a landmark for Exotica’s visibility, made the brand part of the Lebanese landscape and grew to be a main component of our media strategy. It also became a practice for other brands that had limited marketing budgets but needed permanent visibility. We rely mostly on mediums that Lebanese people are used to and more familiar with, Exotica has yearly outdoor deals and they communicate all occasions and all their products on those mediums. Nevertheless and on few occasions during the year, we expose the brand on other media that suit the occasion (radio / print / digital). Digital communication started with Zalka move to Jal el Dib, then with April’s fool and culminated with Valentine Ivy campaign in 2010 and Halloween campaign in 2011. In 2012, we’ll be looking at more integration across all relevant contact points and the digital platform will be more prominently used.
A month ago, Exotica decided to expand their media usage and work with new ones. The use of more mediums such as radio, online and TV will definitely be included in their 2012 plans. 

Lamis: Regarding your April fools campaign on Nostalgie and Radio on - can you tell me more about it?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: Objective of April’s fool campaign in 2009 was to generate traffic on website of Exotica. We found in April’s fool a great opportunity to do so.
Using humor (one of Exotica’s brand equities), we created a bogus job offer: Botanico Musicologist; Using many media, mainly radio, we directed people to visit website for info.
On April 1st: Anchors spread the story during headlines news every hour while mentioning the story during their programs. A live program was created inviting listeners to audition live for the job
Campaign created huge buzz, people called to audition, sent emails, participated on the radio show, etc… And the traffic on the website increased by 42%.
The latest radio campaign was the “Gifting for no reason” campaign. We didn’t want the focus to be on the competition. We wanted the mood of the campaign to come out which puts men in a corner about taking their girlfriends for granted and forgetting to send them flowers or doing something nice for them.. We wanted to purely entertain people and give away daily vouchers.

Lamis: What is the IVY says Valentine’s campaign?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: In Lebanon, it is a well-known fact that we have 6 women for every man. Since Exotica is all about “Make a difference”, we wanted to make a real difference by trying to help every single woman secure a Valentine this year. Why not take matters, and your own happiness, into your own hands? After all, “fortune favors the brave”!
The campaign was highly integrated on 6 groups, establishing a very strong brand presence, and connecting with the target audience on several platforms. On the viral front, Ivy a blogger blogged & tweeted away, she publicized her resolution of securing a Valentine in the form of a manifesto that was circulated on the streets.

Lamis: How often do you make exotica ads and depending on what?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: We make ads depending on the Season and the occasion. The commercial holidays are always communicated in our plan. We have around seven main occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Summer, Fall, Christmas, Wedding, Independence Day, Halloween, and many more. Every year something new is communicated depending on the need and the products available. This year we communicated Go Green and gifting for no reason.

Lamis: What Impacts your creative campaigns? Personally, I'm a big fan.

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: Very strong impact. The public waits for every campaign to see what Exotica has to say. The bar is high and the agency is always challenged to live up to the peoples’ expectations. We are always in the search to make people excited to talk and blog about our new campaigns. Our campaigns are made to change people’s behavior and make a difference.

Lamis :How much is the cost of yearly advertising for exotica in Leo Burnett?

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: This is a confidential question. However some accounts are on a yearly contract and others are on jobs basis. For the agency, Exotica is a great account to show and express our creative capabilities because this client is open to creativity and is daring enough to try. I can only tell you what we offer is worth paying for.

Lamis: I would like to thank you for making time on your busy schedule for me.

Mrs. Lynn Barghout: Thank you for your enthusiastic attitude and hard work. We at Leo Burnett wish you the best of luck.

No comments:

Post a Comment