ECSTASY, A SMELLY BUSINESS

Short List
ClientOPENBAAR MINISTERIE
Category F05. Breakthrough on a Budget
TitleECSTASY, A SMELLY BUSINESS
Product/ServicePUBLIC AWARENESS
Entrant ROORDA RECLAMEBUREAU Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Idea Creation ROORDA RECLAMEBUREAU Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
PR EXPRTEASE Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Production ROORDA RECLAMEBUREAU Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Credits
Name Company Position
Joeri Jansen Roorda Reclamebureau Creative Director
Willem Droog Roorda Reclamebureau Copywriter
Justin van Creij Roorda Reclamebureau Art Director
Jorn Slotboom Roorda Reclamebureau Designer
Edzart Bentinck exPRtease PR Manager
Rosalie Sentse Roorda Reclamebureau Producer
Ellis Vis Roorda Reclamebureau Account Manager

Why is this work relevant for PR?

With minimal means (15k), big impact was created (amount of ecstasy waste dumps cut in half). This entry proves creativity can make the difference even when it comes to national security. Creativity can activate citizens (increase of citizen reports of suspicious smell) and by doing so help law enforcement who are under immense pressure these days. A smart planned PR kick off got a huge spin-off in free publicity and great results.

Background

Ecstasy is a hot topic in the Netherlands. Ecstasy labs, often located in residential areas, come with the danger of toxic substances, gasses, fire and explosions. The impact on society increases as labs become more hazardous and toxic waste is being dumped in the public domain, leading to bigger risks for public health and environmental damage.  The brief: make people aware of possible ecstasy labs and dumpings in their neighborhood a help law enforcement to track down ecstasy labs and create Objectives: 1. make the public aware of the risks of ecstasy labs 2. reduce (25%) the amount of waste dumping 3. help locate and dismantle ecstasy labs

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

To make citizens aware of the distinct smell, and have them recognize and report it as a nearby drug lab, we launched a new fragrance: XTACY. As with most introductions of new fragrances, a street team in a busy shopping street handed out the familiar ‘testers’. Den Bosch, capital city of the province with the highest density of drug labs, was the place to kick off the campaign. On the back of these samples, people read our call to action. “Recognize this smell? There's a big chance you’re near a drug lab or a dumping site. Please call 0800- 6070.”

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

Insight: Smell instantly settles into our subconscious mind. Once you smell it again, it links to that memory. The Dutch are always down to try something free. So, launching a new perfume and giving away free samples, was a great way to grab everyone’s attention. After smelling this perfume, people read our key message: When you smell this scent, chances are you’re near a drug lab or dumping site. Please call 0800-6070. Target audience: All Dutch people (17 million) Creation and distribution of assets: the perfume was launched by a street team near a town hall meeting, attended by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Once he left the meeting, he walked into our team, which gave him a sample. We invited press and distributed our own footage to all major networks immediately. All municipalities were invited to order samples and/or our street team to join the campaign.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

We launched the perfume on a Sunday, which is the slowest day for big news stories, and therefore gave us the biggest chance of breaking the evening news and making the headlines on Monday morning. We invited all major press companies and offered them an interview with the responsible public prosecutor. We then surprised them with the attendance of our Prime Minister. The press that didn’t show up received a press kit with pictures, video footage and background information on that same day. It all went according to plan. Within 20 hours, we reached 25 million media impressions. On a population of 17 million. In the weeks following, news items about dismantled labs after public reports of the anise smell kept mentioning our campaign and how to recognize the distinct smell.

List the results (30% of vote)

Media Outputs - We have achieved a PR value of 1.5 million euros and 25 million earned impressions, which is huge for Dutch standards. All major news outlets featured the campaign. From frontpage articles at the largest daily paper (De Telegraaf) and biggest online newspaper AD.nl, to prime-time news coverage on the 20.00 NOS Journaal and RTL Nieuws. Even ‘Jeugdjournaal’ (Youth Journal) taught children about the special promotion. The quality of the output is particularly noticeable: reporting was positive in all cases, the core message got discussed in each article, and the sender got mentioned every single time. Target Audience - More and more citizens got involved and notified the police about the suspicious anise scent. Thanks to the large media coverage, Dutch people now link the typical anise smell to ecstasy production or waste. As a result, criminals realized they could no longer dump their waste without getting noticed due to the smell, and the amount of ecstasy waste dump sites was cut in half since the start of the campaign. Business Outcomes - The Public Prosecution Office received a lot of positive attention as a result of an unorthodox, disruptive idea to expose an urgent problem and to ask the Dutch public for help. 12 municipalities have already ordered the perfume bottles so they can engage their own citizens to help find ecstasy labs.