Renew Life Digestive Care

PR & Media Relations Campaign

Integrated Marketing & PR Campaign

2013 IABC OVATION Award Winning Campaign


1. Business Need/Opportunity
Renew Life is one of the most well respected natural health companies in North America specializing in natural health products (NHP) that support digestive health. Positioned to reaching people through natural holistic health practitioners and health food stores, the founder of the company, naturopath Dr. Brenda Watson, a New York Times best-selling author; has dedicated her career to educating through these outlets on optimum nutrition, digestion, natural detoxification methods, and herbal internal cleansing. Brenda is also a PBS featured educator, in her fifth season with the recent launch of “Heart of Perfect Health”, where she highlights the connection of gut health to overall health, especially that of the heart.

The brand Renew Life was well known amongst natural health practitioners and advocates comprising the natural health market. The challenge was to go beyond this group, and educate the population at large on natural health options, and on the importance of preventative care by taking health into our own hands by making dietary and lifestyle changes to enjoy vibrant health for many years to come. Part of the challenge of marketing NHP’s, is to break through conventional allopathic medicine paradigms, and that is the message we have heard from the media for a very long time: take drugs when a health condition arises. Naturopathic medicines focuses on preventative care, thus discouraging drug use which only masks the issue, and seems to never heal it.

The opportunity here was to create a yearlong communication plan that would target mainstream audiences via national media outlets (print, broadcast and web) with messages about prevention and natural health practices, while highlighting Renew Life products, and directing people back to their website for more information. This approach would highlight the use of key spokespeople, namely Dr. Brenda Watson (founder of the company), and her director of education and R.H.N. (Registered Holistic Nutritionist), Caroline Farquhar. We were asked by the client to earn editorial placement over the course of a year for 5 key products, while at the same time secure radio and TV speaking opportunities for their spokespeople.

2. Intended Audiences
Consumer Audience: Canadian women and men aged 18-55, who are interested in health, and open to employ natural preventative health practices into their daily living.

Media Audience: National Canadian media covering health & lifestyle (print, broadcast, online/web).

3. a) Goals
The main goal was to generate yearlong awareness for Renew Life products and its founder, Dr. Brenda Watson through traditional media coverage, targeting the above audiences. Monthly pitching was to focus on key health concerns, while educating on the efficacy of natural health products. Print and on-line coverage was to be complemented with radio & TV interviews for the company’s spokespeople on a monthly basis, in a thematic and integrated approach.
3. b) Objectives

  • Use media relations to change perceptions of NHP’s and make them more mainstream by having large national outlets report on suggested use and efficacy.
  • Aim for an ROI of at least 3 times of cost of the campaign based on ad value, with impressions of at least 20 million (Client requested ad value to be included in the measurement mix)
  • Achieve a cost per contact of less than $0.02
  • Work with radio contacts (as opposed to TV) to re-book Dr. Watson in an effort to make her a “regular” (Dr. Watson is American, and has a hectic travel schedule; therefore making it easier to participate wherever she may be)
  • Attain at least one major national TV appearance for Dr. Watson

4. Solution Overview
Extensive medical research was made available by the client in terms of how natural health products (NHP) positively affect or improve specific health conditions. The goal was to use this research to back up all the communication elements, from news release writing to pitching, to media relations.  A media coverage audit was deployed by dvCommunications to determine editorial potential for Renew Life products amongst its competitors, to see who had been making “news” in this field, and to know what we were up against. We were going head to head with some major pharmaceutical companies with deep pockets when it came to PR + Marketing budgets, like Jamieson and Genuine Health.  We were also going up against some established “natural health experts” who are not only Canadian (our client is American), but who were also contributing regularly to large media outlets. Health experts such as Natasha Turner, Bryce Wylde and Joy McCarthy, were regularly featured on Chatelaine/CityLine, CP24 Health, and The Morning Show respectively.

With a solid and ambitious approach to educating those already in the holistic natural health market through sales, national lectures and advertising in natural health publications, the company wanted to expand beyond and start educating the general public at large. A year-long campaign was developed to introduce the following topics: cleansing and detoxification, digestive health, heart health, immunity, and brain/heart health, while focusing on the company’s top selling natural and herbal supplements to heal and prevent chronic disease. Product focus was on herbal cleansing kits, digestive care products, probiotics, and omega-3 essential fatty acids. An effort was made to tie in all communication to Dr. Watson’s H.O.P.E. formula for vibrant health (high fibre diet, omega-3 essential fatty acids, probiotics, and digestive enzymes).

An ambitious communication schedule was developed to pitch the media according to national health months and seasonal health opportunities, to align key message/products, in an attempt to be considered “newsworthy” by the media, while challenging them to expand the paradigms of health and NHP’s. The plan is below:

Month News Opportunity Key Messages/Renew Life Product Short Lead Long Lead Radio Interviews for Dr. Watson
January New Years Diet Resolutions Herbal Cleansing Kits Pitch Jan. Pitch July Pitch end Dec.
February Heart Health Month Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Pitch Feb. Pitch Aug. Pitch end Jan.
March National Nutrition Month
National Colorectal Awareness Month
Healthy Organic Diet + IntestiNew Pitch March Pitch Sept. Pitch end Feb.
April Irritable Bowel Awareness Month IBS Support


Pitch April
Send out ANR via News Canada
Pitch Oct. Pitch end Mar.
May Celiac Awareness Month IntestiNEW


Pitch May
Send out ANR via News Canada
Pitch Nov. Pitch end Apr.
June Summer BBQ – Eating Outdoors Parasites Probiotics Pitch June Pitch Dec. Pitch end May
July Summer – Lethargy & Brain Fog Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Pitch July
Send out Matte Feature via News Canada
Pitch end Jun.
August Back-to-School (Building immunity) Probiotics Pitch August
Send out Matte Feature via News Canada
Pitch end Jul.
September Back-to-School (Improving Smarts + Building Immunicty) Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids + Probiotics Pitch September
Send out ANR via News Canada
Pitch end Aug.
October Cold & Flu Season Probiotics Pitch Oct. Pitch end Sept.
November Cold & Flu Season Probiotics Pitch Nov. Pitch end Oct.
December Holiday Indulgence Digestive Enzymes Pitch Dec. Pitch end Nov.


Press Kits (English & French) – a news release touching on a timely health subject (as per plan above) was created and labelled as a “health alert”. The news release focused on common health issues, and played up Renew Life products and their efficacy. The release was packaged with product samples, product fact sheet, and medical research studies backing up product claims. In an effort to stay within budget, and use funds wisely, the press kits with samples were only sent to long lead media (major health and lifestyle magazines), and some short lead media (mainly key newspaper health editors and bloggers). The use of CNW lists and a proprietary health list created and maintained by dvCommunications over the years, was used to target key players.

Electronic Press Kits (English & French) – containing the health alert, product fact sheet and medical research were sent out on a monthly basis to major national broadcast outlets (radio and TV), as per the plan detailed above. This two-pronged approach (seeding and release dissemination) targeted media outlets in an effort to satisfy the client’s objectives of attaining product coverage, while securing interviews for company spokespeople throughout the year.

ANR (English & French) – News Canada developed 2 audio news releases touching on key health issues that Renew Life specialized in (IBS + Celiac Disease), and that would utilize Dr. Brenda Watson as a spokesperson. This approach allowed us to gain radio coverage beyond traditional interviews, making it easier for the doctor to handle her hectic travel schedule. The ANR ended with a call to action to learn more by visiting the Renew Life website.

Matte Features (English & French) – News Canada developed 3 stories during the slower summer news season and back-to-school, to highlight key health issues, and product solutions. Again, dvCommunications used quotes from Dr. Watson with a call to action to learn more by visiting the Renew Life website.

Desk Sides – In the summer, desk-sides were conducted with health editors of major women’s and lifestyle magazines (FLARE, Best Health, GLOW, Fashion, Oxygen, etc..). The goal was to create another opportunity to talk about omega-3 supplements, and to introduce Dr. Watson’s new show launching in the fall on PBS, titled Heart of Perfect Health.

National Media Relations – dvCommunications relentlessly pitched every month as per the schedule above to secure stories and interviews. dvCommunications continued to execute follow-up calls and e-mails to all media targets to encourage as much coverage as possible.

5. Measurement & Evaluation
Due to the client’s request, AVE (ad value evaluation) was used to measure all media.  We also ran the results through MRP to satisfy the industry standard for measurement and evaluation. Media analysis and proof report are attached to showcase major clippings, and overall campaign measurements. The campaign proved to be very successful, surpassing all the objectives established at the outset, as recapped below:

  • 22 TV appearances/stories were secured (with major hits like Canada AM, The Fanny Kiefer Show, Breakfast Television, CTV News, CHCH News, etc…) (Objective was 1 major national show which we satisfied with Canada AM, plus a multitude of TV appearances across the country)
  • 34 radio interviews were obtained for Dr. Watson and her Director of Education (as a result, we were able to secure regular interviews for Dr. Watson on over 10 radio stations across the country moving forward! (UCB, CFAX, VOCM, At Home with Cheryll and Sam on the national CORUS network, 680 News Toronto, and 660 News Calgary to name a few)
  • 15 print articles were secured
  • 28 on-line stories were secured
  • 146 radio stories were played as a result of the 2 ANR’s disseminated
  • Although the client did not establish objective criteria for web traffic, it was noted that web traffic and social media participation (as well as sales) increased significantly around the time the News Canada ANR’s and matte features dropped
  • Major media coverage included: Canada AM, BT, The Fanny Kiefer Show, CTV News, CHCH News, Vitality, Alive, Mieux-Etre, Viva!, GLOW, iVillage, to name a few)
  • Total impressions: 49,171,398 (Objective was 20,000,000)
  • PR Ad Value Equivalency: over $1 million!
  • ROI: 7 times (Objective was 3 times)
  • Cost per Contact: $0.003 (Objective was $0.02)

Watch how we made natural health products mainstream:

Breakfast Television Vancouver

CTV News Calgary

Marilyn Denis


City News

Global News

City News

BT Vancouver

CTV News Calgary


City News

CTV News


CHCH Morning Live