As the challenger in the fire protection equipment category, MSA had their work cut out for them. They were outspent by category leader who also enjoyed a real “swagger factor,” due to its well-known role as supplier to the FDNY. SBA was charged with leveraging the pending introduction of a revolutionary new breathing apparatus to fully reposition and resuscitate the MSA brand.
From our initial audit, we found the competitive landscape to be littered with ads that were little more than reformatted sale sheets (complete with CAD renderings on individual product features, technical call-outs, etc.). And we saw the opportunity for a new way in. The insight that firefighters have two families - blood relatives and fellow firefighters - prompted us to knock down the category convention of features-laden ads and launch a campaign celebrating the "brotherhood". And we used the firefighters' own words to do less educating and more empathizing.
Following the launch of their product, feedback from firefighters and distributors was unprecedented. In just six months, 60% of MSA’s sales represented competitive conversions.