"Save the Squirrels, an integrated campaign, includes radio and outdoor (targeting drivers), point of sale and a Web site, monroesavethesquirrels.com. The campaign is "in its infancy," says Ric Alameddine, vice president/marketing and product development for Monroe, Mich.-based Monroe. "We've just opened the book on this." He says there will be print ads in trade and consumer shelter publications as well as TV ads as the three- to-five-year strategic plan rolls out.
The campaign is built on the humorous premise of reminding consumers to check their shocks from the vantage point of road-crossing squirrels.
The first in a pair of offbeat Web shorts centers on the world of static squirrel figurines, "Acceptance" brings viewers into a squirrel-eye view of the roads. With the tagline "Squirrels Make Bad Decisions," the spot gives consumers a unique reason to always be sure their shock absorbers are up to par: Squirrels that can be smart enough to get into college are also quite foolish when it comes to crossing the street.
The Webisode begins with a young squirrel that has just learned he has been accepted to the "Acorn State University." He starts to cross the street to share the news with his mother and father, but does not look both ways. A car comes to a screeching halt, coming dangerously close to ending the young squirrel's bright future. Thankfully, this smart driver had the car's shocks checked after 50,000 miles.
"This is a great example of what we're always trying to do: come at things from an angle that creates a fresh, new kind of relevance," said Marshall Ross, chief creative officer for C-K in a news release. "Shocks are easy to forget about, and their importance is easy to underestimate. But putting the story through the mouths of squirrels, even if they're stuffed squirrels, suddenly makes the conversation something worth engaging in."
C-K is currently working on the second Web short, "Wedding," set to launch in early 2008.
Monroe stands out in its industry by advertising as much as it does. "We're the exception to the rule," says Alameddine. "Not a lot of brands support their products. But we have a wide spectrum of consumers, and we have to make a technical product fun and exciting."
The ubiquitous squirrel is used in the company's campaign in Canada and the United States. But in Mexico, the squirrel is subbed by a cow. "We have squirrels in the road," says Alameddine. "They have cows."