Congrats to the team at Ketchum DC and their client DoubleTree by Hilton on the Product Brand Development of the Year award! We loved being a part of the tour and the award couldn’t have gone to a better team! For their PR Week submission, Ketchum included a great writeup of the tour itself. You can see it on the PR Week Award Site, or read on below.
Since 1986, DoubleTree by Hilton has been giving a warm chocolate chip cookie to every guest upon check-in as a symbol of the brand’s enhanced care culture. Just in time to celebrate the sweet treat’s 25th anniversary, Ketchum was tasked with raising DoubleTree by Hilton’s brand awareness. The agency recognized that the cookie was central to the brand’s story and organized a summer campaign in which the Cookie CAREavan, a branded food truck (a first among hotel chains), traveled more than 15,000 miles coast to coast through 50 cities distributing and donating a total of 250,000 chocolate chip cookies. Ketchum leveraged existing events, including ComicCon in San Diego and pride festivals in Chicago and Key West, FL. The firm also reached out to mayors and government officials, securing July as the “DoubleTree by Hilton Chocolate Chip Cookie Month” in Texas and Tennessee. Cities including San Francisco, Atlanta, and Detroit named the CAREavan’s arrival as “DoubleTree by Hilton Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.” A Facebook tab displayed the route, relevant tweets, and sweepstakes for free hotel stays, which resulted in nearly 29,000 new “likes” and more than 10,000 sweepstake entries. In addition, Foursquare check-ins at CAREavan stops awarded Hilton HHonors points. The business with the most #SweetBreaks tweets won 250 cookies hand delivered to the office. Results directly attributed to the campaign include a 200% jump in unaided brand awareness, a 15% revenue boost, and a 125% increase in HHonors enrollment, all over 2010. The campaign was recognized in 1,833 media outlets including Today, Good Morning America, and USAToday.com. Mashable declared the CAREavan “No. 1 Food Truck for Social Media Marketing.” One judge praised the campaign as “brilliant and bigtime.” Another judge agreed, saying, “The effort put a fresh new twist on the food truck concept and blended in a terrific cause element.”