International marketing rakes in big bucks for Kentucky

International marketing efforts made by Kentucky businesses have done the state some real good. It was among the highest-ranking states in export growth from 2011 to 2012, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.

In 2012, Kentucky exported nearly $22.1 billion in goods, which led to significant regional job growth in industries like transportation, chemical production and manufacturing. The Kentucky Export Initiative estimates the state is the 11th in the United States for exports on a per capita basis.

"That's an impressive distinction considering that Kentucky is not a coastal or a border state," the site states.

Even though Kentucky is home to large corporations like Tempur-Pedic International, and Brown-Forman, which we can thank for Jack Daniel's, Jameson and Southern Comfort, the Initiative attributes the bulk of exports to small- and mid-sized businesses.

The International Trade Commission has lent a major helping hand to such companies, as its U.S. Commercial Service agency provides small and medium organizations with trade counseling, market data and other resources to help them effectively advertise and promote their products overseas, The Lexington Herald-Leader explains.

More than 3,200 Kentucky businesses are experiencing significant demand for their products abroad. The newspaper points to one company, Shamrock Marketing, in Louisville that produces technological tools for remanufacturing commercial vehicle tires. The entity has edged its way into Poland, Germany, the Philippines and the United Kingdom since 2008.

P&G gets fresh with new laundry product, ad campaign

Who doesn't love the smell of fresh laundry? To spread the word about its new Fireworks In-Wash Scent Booster product, Procter & Gamble is running a new advertising campaign.

On Monday, the brand aired a commercial centered around the promise that the new laundry accessory adds terrific smells to clothing and keeps it wonderfully odorous for up to 12 weeks in storage. 

In addition, P&G is continuing the promotion on social media, as the company will select Twitter fans to test the new product for free at home. Gain will also "spark conversation amongst the blogger community" by using the hashtag #GainLove to get consumers to pick up a bottle of Original Fireworks at local retailers. 

Gain will also attend BlissDom 2013, a conference for women bloggers and social media aficionados this week in Dallas.

Gain's website, ilovegain.com, already encourages fans to express their affection for the cleaning brand by submitting a "love letter" for others to read. Meanwhile, the brand's Facebook page features advertising content and a Boost my Dryer! contest page where people can submit a picture of their decked out laundry machines for a chance to win a year's supply of dryer bars.

Bounty kids around at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards

To promote its Select-A-Size product, Bounty is heading out on what may be its ickiest marketing journey yet. Procter & Gamble's paper towels are traveling to Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards event next week in Orlando, Florida.

The green slime many 1990s kids fondly grew up with is set to meet its match when Bounty sets up camp at the event's viewing party at the Nickelodeon Suites Resorts.

In addition to offering passersby a virtual sliming photo opportunity, Bounty is airing a commercial during the awards should and throughout the week leading up to the event on Nick and Nicktoons.

The paper towel company has held other similar promotional events that involved big messes. Bounty did demonstrations at the State Fair of Texas, a tailgate for the 2013 Rose Bowl Game and Miami's Carnaval.

Bounty, which is an official sponsor of the Kid's Choice Awards, seems to be tapping an audience quite different from the sports fans, fair food lovers and partiers its aimed marketing and advertising efforts at before. Time will tell whether kids are actually interested in the ability to choose the size of their paper towel.

Anti-tobacco campaign tells Kentucky teens to Kick Butts

To spread the word that smoking is whack, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is celebrating Kick Butts Day on Wednesday, March 20.

According to a statement released by the organization on Friday, the tobacco industry spends $8.5 billion on advertising. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is fighting cigarette ads that make smoking look cool with a marketing plan of its own, which involves educating youth in Kentucky and other states and legislators on the dangers of tobacco.

"On Kick Butts Day, kids will stand up and reject big tobacco's manipulative marketing," said Matthew Myers, the organization's president. "It's also a chance for elected leaders to commit to protecting kids from tobacco through policies such as tobacco taxes, smoke-free laws and prevention programs. We hope that legislators will listen to their young constituents and implement these proven solutions to reduce tobacco use and save lives."

Events planned for Kick Butts Day include demonstrations titled "They put WHAT in a cigarette!?" The national initiative's website, which is designed for teens interested in the cause, allows visitors to research events in their area, find information about youth advocacy and learn about tobacco.

Kentucky senator kicks off re-election campaign ads 20 months early

Ashley Judd may be making Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell nervous; the Kentucky politician is already making moves for his 2014 re-election campaign.

While Kentucky residents won't vote for another 20 months, McConnell is kicking off TV advertising efforts this week, with the first video airing Thursday.

In early February, political group American Crossroads launched a television and internet video ad portraying Ashley Judd, who may run for the senate seat, in a less than positive light. The clip generated a significant amount of controversy and discussion in the political world, giving Judd even more attention.

According to ABC News, one of McConnell's first ads this season will feature his wife, Elaine Chao, who is a former secretary of labor, which signifies the campaign is courting women voters early on.

Chao has recently been the target of questionably racist comments from Progress Kentucky, another political group. McConnell's 30-second video, which aired Thursday in Lexington and Louisville, addressed​ these comments and tied them into the campaign.

"You've seen the ads attacking my husband," Chao states in the ad. "As Mitch McConnell's wife, I've learned to expect them. Now, far-left special interests are also attacking my ethnicity, even attacking Mitch's patriotism, because he's married to me."

P&G bats lashes during National Sleep Awareness Week

Procter & Gamble coupled two of its popular brands to celebrate arguably the most important time of year: National Sleep Awareness Week.

A National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey found one in four adults in the United States reported experiencing occasional sleeplessness and difficult falling asleep several nights each week, according to Procter & Gamble. The corporate giant used these findings for marketing purposes last week.

On Thursday, Downy and ZzzQuil, in partnership with the NSF, set up camp at Amtrak's Penn Station to promote their products to passersby. The event featured beds with sheets washed by Downy fabric softener, and Joseph Ojile, the NSF board director, and HGTV's Taniya Nayak gave attendants tips on how to design a bedroom that is conducive to healthy sleep.

The marketing campaign also included a social media aspect. On Wednesday, Downy hosted a Twitter chat session with the bloggers behind Mom Generations and Lady and the Blog, websites that are popular among U.S. moms. During the chat, the company ran a contest to award one participant a year's supply of Downy products and bed sheets. 

Downy also embraced National Sleep Awareness Week and National Nap day on its Facebook page.

Kentucky city on the hunt for new brand

Last month, Elizabethtown, Kentucky, kicked off efforts to create a new local brand.

The Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Bureau, the Elizabethtown Hardin County Heritage, the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation and local officials have begun efforts to collect insight from residents to determine what the city is known for, what its best traits are and why locals are proud of it in order to create a unifying brand.

Heath Seymour, executive director of the Heritage Council told The News-Enterprise that Elizabethtown needs a defining characteristic the way Hodgenville has Abraham Lincoln, Bardstown is associated with bourbon and Lexington has a connection to horses.

The branding initiative is expected to attract new businesses and events by giving the city a universal, recognizable identity.

Last month, the organizations behind the initiative launched a website to survey residents. The WordPress site, which is relatively simple, explains what a brand is and how it contributes to local marketing.

"A good brand helps with marketing because it connects emotionally with the public," the site states. "Over time a brand can become quite valuable to the holder of that brand."

The page also features four survey questions asking users to weigh in on Elizabethtown's image.

The survey will collect responses through March 15. 

Head & Shoulders leads the battle on ‘druff

In an effort to promote its dandruff treatment shampoo, Procter & Gamble's Head & Shoulders brand conducted a survey to determine which cities demand its attention most. 

According to a recent press release, the metropolitan areas most in need of "hair S.O.S." include Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. 

Head & Shoulders' scientific method approach to only surveying female consumers differs significantly from its marketing efforts targeted at men, which involve sponsorships from major athletes.

The survey, which was conducted in partnership with Wakefield Research, revealed more than half of female respondents consider their hair to be damaged.

"With a good percentage of the global population suffering from dandruff, consumers shouldn't have to make a choice between beautiful hair and anti-dandruff efficacy," said Michael Sabbia, brand manager for Head & Shoulders, North America. "We are excited to be able to offer consumers a way to treat their scalp issues and have damage-rescued, great-looking hair with no tradeoffs."

The shampoo company is launching a marketing campaign to publicize the fight against head snow and is hosting an event in Chicago with celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook Jones, which is publicized on its Facebook page.

UK football steps up marketing game

While the University of Kentucky's men's basketball team has embarked on several major marketing missions, the school's football team hadn't received a comparable amount of media attention until recently.

Before the start of 2013, the only advertising dedicated to the pigskin players included a scarce amount of billboards throughout Kentucky, according to Wildcat Blue Nation.

Since the start of the new year, UK football has released several promotional videos to raise support for the team and raise awareness among potential recruits.

One ad is aimed at luring in high school football players. It opens on Commonwealth Stadium, with the words "Come be a hero" placed over the image. The video then features clips of various Wildcat football touchdowns, tackles and other glorious moments and ends with the words "Who's next?"

The team also snagged a spot in Super Bowl local ad time this year: a clear step up from sporadic billboards. Other promotional videos include footage of UK football players training.

A recent increase in game ticket sales and new subscriptions to the Wildcat recruiting page likely signify these marketing efforts are paying off, explains Wildcat Blue Nation.

Time Warner Cable scores deal with UK b-ball

On Monday, Time Warner Cable announced a sponsorship deal with University of Kentucky's athletic program, focusing mostly on the school's men's basketball and football teams.

The New York-based cable company will become the official sponsor of the university athletics department's core video, high speed data, Wi-Fi and landline phone products. Time Warner Cable also scored court side signage and presence on a LED Ribbon Board in Rupp Arena.

"Our partnership … is sure to bring our customers in Kentucky unique opportunities to stay close to the teams and enjoy the action on the field and on the court," said Jeffrey Hirsch, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of residential services of Time Warner Cable. "The University of Kentucky's athletic program is well positioned to deliver exciting moments for our college sports fans."

The deal serves as a marketing boost for the company, which will host customer appreciation promotions at games and other athletic events.

The partnership includes radio advertising spots during football and basketball game broadcasts and TV commercials during some basketball games. In addition, Time Warner Cable will get ad space in the football and men's b-ball yearbook and playbook as well as on the University of Kentucky website.