Project name Launch of armored vehicle Gerlach
Client Zetor Engineering
Implementation period 2018
Thanks to a well-thought-out strategy, the Agency managed to create a media winner of the international defense technology fair IDEB 2018 from an unknown prototype of an armored vehicle from Zetor Engineering. On the day of the opening of the fair, the Gerlach vehicle appeared in all major TV news and the information was published by all relevant media in the Slovak Republic as well as in the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria. And without a larger media budget. What was behind this success? Compared to the competition, we communicated openly and created media pressure to open negotiations on the inclusion of Gerlach in the 4×4 tender.
In the spring 2018, Zetor Engineering Slovakia finalized the production of a prototype of a new 4×4 tactical armored vehicle. The aim was to launch it at the IDEB defense technology fair in May 2018 and try to include Gerlach in the tender launched by the Ministry of Defense of the Slovak Republic for 4×4 armored vehicles. Gerlach entered a very saturated market: not only the winner of the 8×8 tender (Patria), but also several foreign competitors are bidding for the 4×4 tender. For our inclusion in the tender, it was therefore vital to present Gerlach’s qualities well and to create strong media pressure through an intensive campaign.
After Gerlach missed the military presentation in the field in the winter of 2017 (it was not completed), IDEB was one of the few chances to showcase it to the command of Slovak army and at the same time catch the ongoing 4×4 tender. The strategy was seemingly simple: it was necessary to communicate well its structural uniqueness and strengths (modularity, mobility, ballistic protection, unbeatable price) and above all – to talk about Gerlach, to make it socio-politically unacceptable not to invite him to this tender. We also knew that if we were to be “fast”, we had to be different from our competitors than our competitors.
1. Preparation and strategy
To understand the insight and communication of competitors, we contacted a renowned military analyst.
2. Presentation at IDEB
The IDEB trade fair was a key platform for us – it was a public arena for confronting Gerlach with the competition, an opportunity to launch a vehicle and the first official meetings with the authorities. Since the strategy was to differentiate ourselves, we decided to communicate with the media on this segment in an unconventional way – very openly. As part of the fair, we organized a press conference, where we invited a wide group of media. Real vehicle operators were also available to demonstrate Gerlach’s capacity, ergonomics and user-friendliness. The competition did not offer such an approach and program, although it had more expensive and larger stalls.
3. Communication with expert media
From the beginning, we have conducted intensive communication with the expert military media. In most cases, it was possible – mostly unpaid – to publish comprehensive reports on Gerlach.
4. Media coverage in selected markets
Gerlach is also applying for contracts outside Slovakia, so we coordinated the media launch with partner agencies in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
The goal was achieved – Gerlach was not only the star of the evening news on the opening day of the exhibition, but the wide unpaid media coverage (only press agencies were paid) continued. Thanks to the campaign, official negotiations on the inclusion of Gerlach in the 4×4 tender have already begun at the fair.
Total balance of media outputs:
News and social media (SR): 46
Foreign media (CZ, HU, RO, BG): 83
Expert media: 5