Le Whif

The World's First Breathable Food

Challenge

In Spring 2009, LaboGroup, a Paris-based innovation center founded by Harvard professor David Edwards, created a prototype of Le Whif breathable chocolate. Its test-phase debut created a great deal of buzz amongst consumers and media. However, there lacked a clear branding strategy and thoughtful corporate messaging.

In Spring 2010 marlo was brought on to support the official US launch of Le Whif, including the addition of a full line of new organic breathable chocolate flavors and Le Whif breathable coffee. As is often the case, budgets and timelines were tight. Exclusive retail locations had been secured in Cambridge and New York, with kick-off events in the works at both; however a number of crucial details were still undecided, including a final package design and product availability. Time was of the essence and client expectations were high as they sought to maximize their PR investment and make a major splash in order to drive sales and awareness among potential retailers.


Solution

We took over the planning and execution of exclusive, invite-only launch events at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and Dylan’s Candy Bar in New York, NY. These cocktail party-style events drew together influential figures in each city (society, political, academic, culture) as well as top-tier media for product sampling and demonstrations, meet and greets with Le Whif inventor, David Edwards, and photography and interview opportunities to secure media coverage.

Through the creation of engaging and educational e-vites for both events, we succeeded in both driving RSVPs for the events as well as organically growing buzz amongst the media in regards to the Le Whif launch. In place of a traditional PR pitch the e-vites generated a great deal of inquiries from our target media lists.

Working on a short timetable of approximately four months, we ‘front loaded’ the Le Whif launch strategy with an aggressive and comprehensive media relations campaign timed with the launch events. Highlighting product differentiators, i.e. innovation, eco-friendly, affordable, as well as the product’s catch phrase, “Chocolate without the calories, Coffee without the cup!”, we managed an ongoing media campaign successfully securing a robust pipeline of press placements, both short-lead (online, newspaper, broadcast) and long-lead (monthly consumer magazines).


Results

Results of the Le Whif campaign far exceeded client expectations as measured by event attendance, media attention and sales volume.

We secured prominent media coverage to support the launch of Le Whif including:

  • National Broadcast: NBC Today Show (three times), NBC national syndicate network (segment appearing in over 200 markets nationwide), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Colbert Report, Fox & Friends, CBS Early Show, etc.
  • National Print: Investors Business Daily, Bloomberg Businessweek, COSMOPOLITAN, InStyle, Food Network magazine, etc.
  • Regional: The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, Las Vegas Review Journal, etc.
  • Major Online: FitPerez, Gawker, Daily Candy, Urban Daddy, Thrillist, Gizmodo, Yahoo, AOL, etc.

Ultimately, these placements resulted in reaching more than 400 million viewers and delivered editorial and advertising value upwards of $2.5 million.

In terms of sales, the high volume of top-level press resulted in an immediate spike in interest amongst consumers and retailers:

  • Both exclusive launch retail locations sold out of Le Whif within the first day of availability.
  • Online sales at the Le Whif website were overwhelming, resulting in a three-week wait list.
  • To meet consumer demand, the company was forced to increase production of Le Whif to 100,000 pieces of product per week.

 

As a result of our efforts, Le Whif enjoyed an ongoing stream of media attention across the country and sustained interest from retail partners throughout 2010. A testament to the level of work we delivered our client, moving beyond the launch campaign, they extended their contract, tasking our agency with managing ongoing media relations for additional Le Whif line extension launches and coverage in new regional markets.

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  • Media Coverage