Sweeps Anchors Murphy's Co-Promotion With Merry Maids

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Murphy Oil Soap and Merry Maids are cross-promoting their brands using several offline and online marketing tactics, including e-mail newsletters, coupons and an online sweepstakes that will run through the end of the month. The two brands formed a strategic partnership late last month, hoping to take advantage of their similar demographics.

The multifaceted agreement is anchored by the online sweepstakes, in which Murphy, a brand of The Colgate-Palmolive Co., New York, will give away a year of Merry Maids' home-cleaning service for free. The sweepstakes allows Murphy to collect key points of data, including mailing address, e-mail address and phone number.

In addition, entrants can opt in to receive e-mail promotions from Murphy, www.murphyoilsoap.com, and other Colgate-Palmolive brands. The sweepstakes, which began April 25, ends June 1. A winner will be announced June 30.

To promote the sweepstakes, Murphy included 30 million free-standing inserts accompanying its coupons in Sunday newspapers on April 29 in the upper Midwest and Northeast, which the company said are generally more affluent and have many residents with wood in their homes. Murphy Oil Soap is marketed as a product that cleans wood safely.

"It's a natural partnership for both [companies]," said Marisela Hernandez, marketing manager at Colgate-Palmolive. "We get a presence in a consumer's home, where consumers are using the product, and [Merry Maids] gets a presence outside of the home, where they don't normally advertise."

Meanwhile, Merry Maids, Memphis, TN, hoping to gain retail exposure for its service, is placing a coupon on Murphy bottles. The company is offering $10 off a first cleaning and $5 off each of the next three cleanings.

Merry Maids, www.merrymaids.com, also will include coupons in Murphy value packs, which box two of the company's products together, beginning in June, Hernandez said. The company will offer similar value packs with Merry Maids coupons in the fall, she said.

Merry Maids also is expecting to begin a so-called "leave-behind campaign" later this spring or in the summer, said Sarah Smock, director of marketing at Merry Maids. The drive calls for Merry Maids' employees to leave behind Murphy coupons, brochures and trial-size samples in customers' homes.

Merry Maids, which cleans about 250,000 homes a year, serves a demographic of mostly middle-age, affluent women who are typically working and earn an annual household income of $75,000 to $100,000, Smock said.

Similarly, Murphy's customers are also affluent women, generally older than 25, Hernandez said.

"The demographics for both brands are very similar, which means that we're both able to gain exposure with people who may not be familiar with one or the other," Smock said.

Finally, the companies will leverage an e-mail newsletter beginning in June, said Jenny Robertson, account executive at Archer Malmo Public Relations, Memphis, TN. Archer, which has accounts with both companies, will send monthly content-based e-mail newsletters to Murphy's opt-in database of about 40,000, she said.

The e-mails will include promotions and deals from both companies, Robertson said. Also, Archer is looking to rent opt-in e-mail lists of people who have expressed an interest in home services, she said.

The company is considering renting lists, Robertson said, though a deal has not been finalized.


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