A dictionary of brand names will reveal that “Clicquot Club” drinks are pronounced “KLEE’ko” and De Cecco pasta is pronounced roughly “Day CHECK”; while Chico’s, which sells women’s clothing, is pronounced, “Chicco.”
A well-known exporter of baby products wants its brand name to be more prominently spoken in America. Chicco is pronounced “KEEKo” and is owned by the Artsana Group, an Italian company.
Chicco is currently running a campaign inviting parents to enroll their children in pronunciation lessons. Make a clip of your child saying Chicco and it could be featured on a billboard at Times Square.
The campaign also includes print advertisements, content on a section of a Web site (chiccousa.com/timessquare), online ads, outreach through so-called mom bloggers and a presence in social media like Facebook and Twitter.
The Artsana USA division of Artsana created the campaign.
It features the theme “If it’s right, it makes you smile.”
McCann Erickson Worldwide’s flagship New York office, which is part of McCann Worldgroup, is creating the campaign. Chicco is represented by McCann Erickson’s Italian operation, which is based in Milan.
This campaign is one of many designed to teach Americans how to correctly pronounce foreign brands’ names.
Some radio listeners may recall ads to introduce Spanish sangria (pronounced “Ee-AH-go“), which were built around repeated recitations of the name.
“It wasn’t like we needed McCann for us to launch,” stated William Hasse, pronounced “HASS-ee”, rhyming and syncing with “Lassie,” who is vice president of marketing at Artsana USA, Lancaster, Pa. as Chicco has been in the country since the mid-1990s.
McCann was more than that. He said, “McCann helped me to discover that we had very low spontaneous brand recognition,”, especially among first-time parents.
Chicco was able to attain national distribution through chains such as Target, Babies “R” Us, and Toys “R” Us.
Chicco’s goal is to inform potential customers about its “360-degree master brand”, he said, adding that Chicco offers “everything you need for your baby from 0 to 36 months except food and diapers.”
Another goal is to inform them that Chicco is “a brand committed to baby happiness,” Mr. Hasse stated.
He said, “It’s Italian,” and it’s pronounced “KEE-ko.”
It is important to communicate the Italian origin because of the positive image that Italian baby products, such as those made by Chicco and Peg Perego, have.
Chicco’s strollers and car seats, as well as travel systems, toys, highchairs, and other merchandise, are priced to be a premium brand for mass markets. They are less expensive than brands such as Bugaboo and Peg Perego but cost more than brands such as Graco.
You can view some videos uploaded to chiccousa.com in the gallery. Children shout “Chicco”, sing, chant, and dance to it.
Many clips show parents asking their children to pronounce “Chicco” off-camera. Sometimes, the children will repeat the name repeatedly.
Thom Gruhler, McCann Erickson New York president, stated that repetition is impossible.
He said, “What we’re trying is to establish Chicco in Italy as a brand that makes high-quality goods.” “When people heard the name Chicco, they assumed it was either from China or Mexico.”
The theme behind “When you say it correctly, it makes your smile” is that, “when the target is allowed to know the secret,” Mr. Gruhler stated, “it’s also the ultimate currency.”
He said, “They want it to be shared and passed along.” Social media makes it much easier to do this.
Mr. Gruhler rhetorically asked, “Who wouldn’t want to put their child up in Times Square and then upload it to every social networking Web site?”
The videos will be displayed on a huge billboard at the American Eagle Outfitters store on Broadway and West 46th Street. According to Mr. Hasse, the LED screen will display the Chicco clips twice per hour at 15 and 45 minutes respectively.
Aerva, a company, is responsible for the technology that allows consumer-generated clips to migrate from the web site to the billboard. The videos ran on the billboard from February 14 to March 13 and will continue until then.
The print ads appear in magazines like The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. Online advertising is available on sites such as babble.com or cafemom.com.
Universal McCann is a sibling to McCann Erickson in New York and will handle the media portion of the campaign.
According to Kantar Media (a WPP unit), Chicco spent $2.45 Million to advertise Chicco in major American media in 2008. The figure fell to $688,000.
Kantar Media reported that advertising spending increased by $2.7 million in the first nine months 2010. This compares with $611,000 in the same period in 2009.