Project Description

Building Customer Awareness

When the nation’s largest manufactured home builder needed to generate media attention for the environmentally friendly i-house, they turned to Ackermann PR

Issue

Clayton Homes, a Berkshire-Hathaway company, is the largest manufacturer of manufactured and modular homes in the United States. Clayton operates manufacturing plants across the United States and markets its products in 49 states through 448 company-owned retail outlets and more than 1,300 independent retailers.

When Kevin Clayton, son of the founder, took over as President and CEO, he did so with a new vision for the manufactured and modular home industry. Long associated and perceived as “cheap” low-quality housing, Kevin set out to change these perceptions by leading the company into a new product development program, focusing on contemporary design, comfortable, stylish interiors and totally “green” eco-friendly construction. The result was the Clayton i-house.

Idea

To leverage the market strength of Clayton’s parent company and generate maximum media attention, Ackermann PR built the campaign around the 2009 Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders meeting. This shareholder meeting annually attracts over 25,000 attendees and the world’s major media. An actual 1,000 square foot i-house was erected at the Quest Center in Omaha and presented to meeting attendees and the media by Berkshire-Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffet.

In advance of the meeting, Ackermann pitched nearly one thousand reporters and editors in the national media, from print and online publications to television and radio stations and networks.  Our primary focus? The Associated Press. We knew an earned placement with the national newswire – with photos – would have huge ramifications. What further elevated this campaign was our strategic outreach to bloggers.  We gave them the same access that we provided members of the traditional media. We started with the niche bloggers and the viral spread led to prominent placement on some of the most mainstream, most-read blogs in the world.

Impact

The campaign did more than build awareness; it manufactured i-house mania! Not only did the Associated Press story run on the national real estate, feature and finance wires, the story – with photo and in some cases video – also appeared on the landing page of Yahoo!, Huffington Post, CNBC and Fox News. As a result of the media hype, the dedicated i-house website crashed and ClaytonHomes.com saw its heaviest traffic to date.

In all, more than a thousand editorial placements were secured in newspapers, on local television, and on blogs throughout the country. Kevin Clayton, the CEO of Clayton Homes, called it a historic day for the Berkshire-Hathaway company. Clayton Homes razed its competition with unprecedented media coverage of the manufactured housing industry.