CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Pipe-sniffing dogs? A pipe whisperer who communicates with cast iron pipe and fittings? It sounds far-fetched, but they're the fictional subjects of an unusual Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co. advertising campaign that uses social media and humor to make a serious point.
The satirical videos about the Pipe Whisperer (www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP7uAwnPSbA) and the spoof about pipe-sniffing dogs (www.Roscosdogs.com) emphasize the fact that it can be nearly impossible to determine if imported cast iron pipe and fittings meet the same quality standard as what's made in the U.S.
In the four months since the pipe-sniffing dogs video debuted, there have been nearly 800 YouTube views and more than 2,500 visits to the landing page built for the ad. The Pipe Whisperer ad generated another nearly 350 YouTube views and 670 visits to its landing page.
In both cases, 30% of the visitors to the landing pages clicked through to the Charlotte Pipe Web site. That conversion rate easily exceeds the standard for consumer campaigns, and is better than many business-to-business efforts.
“We've made technical arguments in the past about why contractors and engineers can't always be sure imported products were made to the standard, but this was another way to share this important message with customers, and we think the results speak for themselves,” said Brad Muller, Charlotte Pipe vice president of marketing. “Simply listing foreign-made products with a third-party certifier isn't enough. Resellers of imported soil pipe and fittings are required to produce manufacturer certifications to document that the necessary quality control standards were followed. If they can't do that, than you have about as much of a chance of verifying quality as a ‘pipe-sniffing dog’.”
Additional information on how to verify the quality of the cast iron pipe and fittings is available at: www.charlottepipe.com/verify.aspx.