Everyone goes to a zoo to see something they've never encountered before. But a zoo-centric live-event campaign from Mattel subsidiary Fisher-Price is hoping to reach customers they've never spoken to before — first-time parents — and to show them something they've not had an interest in until this moment: infant furnishings and toys from a new line, the Luv U Zoo collection.
“Over the past few years we've developed multifaceted, multiyear programs with some of the top national zoos in the country,” says Fisher-Price brand manager Brenda Andolina. “So when I saw the name, I knew we wanted to use those relationships. Zoos are great marketers, very skilled at giving a good guest experience.”
Concept conversations with zoo marketers resulted in the idea of a series of in-zoo baby showers. Moms-to-be (and the occasional dad) get a copy of a “look book” featuring the new Luv U line, along with nursery painting suggestions from Sherwin Williams and storage suggestions for all that baby gear from The Container Store.
“Research shows that the first things new moms worry about in preparing their nesting space are paint and storage,” Andolina says. Attendees get to see a set of four pop-up room displays — boy and girl nurseries, a playroom and a kitchen — that have been designed using the new collection, along with colors customized for the line and storage solutions available from the partners.
The one-hour showers are short on selling and long on innovative room design ideas such as installing a dimmer switch in the baby's room. “I wish I'd thought of that when I had my first baby,” Andolina says. Participating moms can also take part in an on-site giveaway and get a goodie bag to take home.
The zoos get something, too, says Carolyn Wilkin, marketing coordinator for the Brookfield Zoo in the Chicago suburbs, where the kick-off shower was held in early September. “Our zoo is very membership-driven, and partnering on events with trusted names like Fisher-Price helps us give our members one more reason to come back another time.”
Zoo use runs in cycles, she says, with young kids' use slackening as they grow older until suddenly they're back — this time with young ones of their own. “Programs like the Fisher-Price ‘mommy showers’ let people trial the zoo. So laying the groundwork with moms and new families is really important to us.”
Fisher-Price will mount the one-day mommy showers in seven more national zoos before Thanksgiving.