Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 1 - Still Photography
ClosetMaid Lifestyle Images By Clarke Advertising and Public Relations
Kelly O'Brien, Andrea Glatfelter, Charlie Ripper

Award of Distinction

Research/Situation Analysis: Sometimes it’s challenging to apply a manufacturer’s corporate graphic standards and product photography to media relations. For ClosetMaid, the boring beige wardrobe styling of typical closet images barely gets a first pass from editors, let alone real consideration for the competitive story space usually dominated by flashier rivals (those same rivals with big, frequent advertising buys).
ClosetMaid needed public relations photography that would excite editors and encourage them to consider ClosetMaid for their next story. Because editors need reader solutions, the images must convey the organized lifestyle desired by their readers and often tell the story on their own.
Another opportunity existed in direct pickup. With budget cuts abounding at print publications, editors often look to manufacturers to supply the photography in the magazine when original shooting isn’t an option.

Objectives: Create original lifestyle photography to share with editors for inspiration and direct pickup that shows how real people might use ClosetMaid in their home to solve storage and organization challenges.

Implementation: a. Conduct a media audit to determine what makes a great magazine photo in ClosetMaid’s target publications and what storage and organization solutions are unaddressed in the media.
b. Position the ClosetMaid brand identity and products to fill the identified editorial needs.
c. Draft a creative work plan to guide creative development of the communications.
d. Identify photography studio to shoot images and install the product on location. To answer real-life homeowner challenges, storage systems would come out of the closet. By creating organized laundry, pet and entry way storage where no closet existed, ClosetMaid visually could set the trend with their editorial photography. Where there was an existing bedroom closet, the doors would come off to encourage homeowners to show off their delicious do-it-yourself accomplishments.
e. Work with on-site stylists to create whole-room looks beyond the ClosetMaid products and shoot bank of images specifically for editorial use to pitch to editors and field any media requests.

Evaluation: Lifestyle editors need more than just new product facts and features. They need application and benefits; it’s more valuable to show how the products work in their readers’ lives. Although the images vary greatly from traditional packaging shots, ClosetMaid’s brand key message of creating a sense of order in the home is captured genuinely.
Since the shoot occurred and several media sources picked up coverage, ClosetMaid has watched even their competitors create products to address rooms outside the closet. Doing it first allows ClosetMaid to be identified as the industry trendsetter in the media.
Not even halfway through this fiscal year, circulation and ad value measurements for earned media are almost double comparable values from last year. This editorial photography project accounts already for 1.8 million circulation and $176,000 ad value (hits include Brides, Handy and Building Products). Qualitatively, it has allowed ClosetMaid to make many new media contacts with editors who wouldn’t acknowledge a less stylish representation in the past.

Budget: Editorial photo shoot: $13,000
(Includes photography studio fees, stylist fees and prop costs; does not include agency time or ClosetMaid product costs.)