Case Study: The Fabio Love Campaign
Most new product campaigns are quickly forgotten. Then again there’s the Fabio “Love” campaign for the introduction of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! Spray, that ushered in the new spray diet margarine and created a new product category for American consumers. Just hearing Fabio speak in his sexy Italian accent could tickle one’s senses. It’s cute. In fact it’s “Fabiolicious” and it was the most successful new product launch for the Margarine, Spreads and Toppings division of Lipton (Unilever). Accepting the accolades (and some heat) was Bambe Levine, President of Bambe Levine Public Relations, Inc., who brought this campaign into full glory.
A while back, Lipton created a diet margarine spray for their #1-selling premium margarine brand, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! This product was positioned as having the great buttery taste the brand was noted for: “The Taste You Love Without the Cholesterol,” delivered as a spray.
Fabio, the self-styled “King of Romance,” was hired by Lipton’s ad agency, McCann Erickson, to be the brand’s spokesperson. Since Lipton had never engaged a celebrity spokesperson before, it was decided that an all-out national public relations campaign would greatly reinforce the brand’s healthy eating message while attracting a vast new media and consumer audience. Because of Fabio’s appeal to women, and men as well, the publicity would expand to the campaign’s message while ushering in a new way of thinking for the Margarine-Spreads & Toppings Division of Lipton Consumer Foods.
Bambe Levine and her cracker-jack team created a multi-year integrated marketing campaign that initially focused on the launch of the SPRAY and expanded to support the entire brand. Fabio “cooked” a gourmet luncheon that used ICBINB in every recipe. A Satellite Media Tour (SMT) shown LIVE on local station morning shows around the country showcased the madness of the day’s event. B-roll, ran in major TV markets followed by national TV show appearances on “The Today Show,” “The Tonight Show,” “Live! With Regis,” “Entertainment Tonight,” and “Conan O’Brian,” for starters. Other shows touted Fabio’s new identity as a “pitchman.” It seemed as though Fabio was everywhere and indeed he was. He was even in The New York Times Sunday Business Section holding a bottle of the Spray! It was unstoppable and remarkable!
The next year we created a website featuring Fabio’s Romantic Dining tips followed by a year-long “Bake-A-Cake for Fabio Recipe Contest” bringing in millions of impressions, new users and overwhelming media attention. The publicity created by Bambe Levine Public Relations won a Silver Edison Award for Marketing Excellence from the AMA and a rousing review from Unilever as the Best New Product Launch in their history. We won awards and sold tons for product for Lipton!