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Yogurtland gets piece of red carpet


Natalia Dyer, who stars as Nancy Wheeler in “Stranger Things,” loads up on Yogurtland at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Photo by Francis Cordero, Franc Ryder Foto

How does a franchise brand land as a hot commodity for the red carpet stars, and all the press that might go with it? Ask PR maven Barbara Caruso, founder of C-Squared PR, who got her client, Yogurtland, in the thick of things during the Critics’ Choice Awards in January.

The dessert concept sponsored the event, and a self-service yogurt kiosk was stationed at the entrance of the show as the stars arrived.

Netflix’s “House of Cards’” star Rachel Brosnahan was quoted online at The Hollywood Reporter, saying “I’m starving,” and then topped a strawberry froyo with gummy bears.

The Reporter featured Brosnahan and other celebs in a dishy write- up: “The Critics’ Choice Awards: 9 Things the Cameras Missed,” with No. 1 on the list a report of the Yogurtland display. How about this line: “Six-year-old Brooklynn Prince celebrated her best young actress win with a serving of strawberry and piña colada froyo.”

Not to be outdone, ET Online also featured the dessert station in their “Critics’ Choice Awards: 5 Moments You Didn’t See on TV.” It received much local press in Los Angeles and other major DMAs, and it was tweeted by tinsel town reporters, such as Marc Malkin, who has 76,000 followers.

“The Critics’ Choice sponsorship put a spotlight on our brand in a ​unique way. The event gave us an innovative way to connect with our fans while gaining a positive Hollywood halo,” said Chad Bailey, senior director of marketing and R&D.

Just because Yogurtland made a splash, Caruso says to think carefully before going for the glitter. Here are her tips for brands wanting to steal the show at sponsored events:

Find a fit. Look for events that align with your audience or an audience you want to reach. For Yogurtland, sponsoring the Critics’ Choice Awards was a natural fit, and serving celebrities at the star-studded awards event gave Yogurtland’s audience a connection to their favorite brand and favorite celebs.

Sean Astin

Sean Astin from “The Goonies,” “Rudy,” “Lord of the Rings” and most recently “Stranger Things,” sampling Yogurtland’s goodies at the same event. Barbara Caruso, founder of C-Squared PR, put her client front and center at the awards show. Photo by Franc Ryder Foto

Activate creatively. Find new, unusual or interesting ways to activate at the event. This will help meld together the brand images of the event. Prior to Yogurtland serving at the Critics’ Choice Awards in 2014, a dessert brand had never done so. Alcohol sponsors were common, but Yogurtland brought a new dimension to the event, causing the Wall Street Journal to say it was one of the five best things to ever happen to an awards show.

Leverage social. Go beyond a post or two. In the first year of the Yogurtland sponsorship with Critics’ Choice Awards, “we developed an idea that compared celebrity styles with cups of yogurt flavors and toppings. This trended, drawing quality attention to the brand,” Caruso said.

Fully understand the investment. When you sponsor an event, plan to spend an additional 50 percent more on quality activation including product, production and labor/services to make the investment worthwhile. Don’t cheat your success by misunderstanding that the main responsibility is the brand’s to make the event successful.

Measure for success. At the outset, develop metrics to help measure the success of the event or sponsorship. Be sure to share these metrics with the event team so they can help you achieve those results; they do want you to be successful, because they will want your brand to come back.

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