Wexley School for Girls, one of the most inventive integrated marketing and advertising companies in US, is up to its new tricks with the launch of a campaign to “Restore the R” in Seattle, starting on July 24th.
The “R” in question is the sorely-missed 12-foot high, red, illuminated symbol of legendary Rainier beer, which welcomed Seattle residents and visitors from atop the brewery tower. With the passing of the brewery into the hands of a coffee company, the “R” was recovered from a pile of debris and removed to storage where it languished forlornly – until MOHAI – Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry – decided to resurrect it.
Aware of their success with engaging public support and building a hardcore fan base for the Seattle Sounders soccer team – MOHAI engaged Seattle-based Wexley School for Girls to create a campaign featuring pieces from the MOHAI collection that would become permanent fixtures in MOHAI’s new location (opening December 2012). As part of the “Parade of Artifacts”, Wexley came up with a campaign that would engage the public, create enthusiasm for the “R” and “Restore the R” to its rightful place in the hearts and minds of Seattle’s residents. Wexley approached Rainier’s new owners Pabst Brewing Company, who eagerly agreed to help return the “R” to landmark status.
Restoring the Rainier R sign is very important to us at Pabst Brewing Company, and we know it’s important to the Northwest community (…) We have so many loyal fans that will be thrilled to see this iconic sign come back to life. Together, we will re-create history by relighting the Rainier R
co-owner of Pabst Brewing Company
Rainier is known throughout the Northwest for its quirky, innovative marketing and faithful fans. The brand’s playful essence and consumer affinity fostered an inspiring collaboration with a uniquely engaging strategy as the end result. “Restore the R” encourages Seattle residents as well as Rainier beer fans nationwide to get involved in numerous inspired challenges. The invitation to participate will be featured on half a million Rainier beer bottle caps distributed across the Pacific Northwest.
The cornerstone is the Wexley-concepted website: “RestoreTheR.com” where individuals, friends, families, office teams, can choose how to get involved from a selection of fun and intriguing challenges that will change as the first round of challenges is completed. Wexley has also created, conceptualized and produced an evocative and compelling online video that features subtle visual symbols of the “R” in the Pacific Northwest, such as a melting wax “R” in a Zen rock garden, a Washington apple “R” made from the peel, a melting butter “R” in an iron skillet. The stunning video is intended as a call-to-action, and to encourage creativity of expression in undertaking and completing challenges: there is no ‘right way’ to undertake a challenge.
Participants will need to capture their submission and upload the evidence to RestoretheR.com. Each time a worthy challenge is completed, a light bulb in the “R” is lit and comes one step closer to its former glory. With Pabst covering the cost of restoration, fan support is all that’s needed to turn the lights back on.
As excitement and interest are generated and grow via social media and other PR and marketing, members of the public are encouraged to go online and view their favorite executions. The website also allows visitors to submit new challenge ideas – so that the competition is constantly evolving.
It’s a sign of the media times that this whole campaign is being undertaken without any paid-for media. We’re using the Northwest’s favorite beer to start a social movement that showcases Rainier’s ties to Seattle, drives awareness of the collaboration between MOHAI and Rainier, and encourages community engagement in the restoration of the iconic ‘R’. MOHAI literally pulled it off a trash heap, and it will now be restored to greatness. It’s just fun. We think that people will be motivated to participate regardless of geography.
Wexley School for Girls is a Seattle-based marketing and ad agency that calls themselves a ‘”fan factory,” creating and sustaining a lifetime of loyalty and attention among clients and consumers. Partners and creative directors Ian Cohen and Cal McAllister founded Wexley School for Girls in 2003 and have built a roster of national brands through a an integrated approach that spans traditional, digital, guerrilla, experiential and interactive. Big accounts include Ford, Nike, Wilson Tennis, Taco del Mar, Oberto Beef Jerky, University of Washington, Copper Mountain, Brooks Running, and Microsoft.