Traulsen Refrigeration tasked Ascend to design a creative campaign that would create awareness for their Milk Cooler product. The campaign was to promote a contest in which one Milk Cooler unit would be given away to a K-12 school at the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference.


Although the client specifically asked for a creative concept that included cows (to which we happily obliged), our creative team kept pushing for a less obvious solution. An idea emerged based on a character that continually finds himself in troubling situations associated with "other" milk coolers.


advertising case study Save Martin parallax

Advertising Campaign Creative Concept & Sketch

Our creative team explored a number of advertising campaign ideas, and yes, even incorporated cows on a few of them. The idea that stuck was, "Save Martin" in which an unfortunate milk carton character constantly finds himself in a bind related to the short comings of 'other' milk coolers and implores the audience to save him. (Coincidentally, those short comings help highlight Traulsen features!)
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advertising campaign Save Martin sketch ideas

This sympathetic (albeit adorable) character would be created in the style of a small milk carton – lending itself to be a desirable trade show giveaway, and numerous opportunities for social engagement.

advertising campaign case study Save Martin ideas sketchbook

Character Development & Illustration

Once the original Martin the Carton character illustration was complete, our illustrator had to present him in many unwelcoming scenarios to be used throughout the advertising campaign, and pair the scenarios with features and benefits of the milk cooler product. The resulting illustrations brilliantly communicated the emotions that Martin the Carton was going through.
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advertising case study Save Martin character illustration

advertising case study Save Martin character development

Direct Mail & Advertising

Once the character illustrations were finalized, it was time to get him out to the masses. A creative direct mail piece was designed to kickoff the advertising campaign. The direct mail piece was designed in such a way that the recipients could keep cute martin illustrations, and many shared them on their social media channels.
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advertising case study Save Martin direct mail digital

The next step was taking martin digital. A microsite was created allowing people to easily enter the contest, and Martin was weaved into Traulsen’s social media strategy, making appearances on Facebok and Linkedin as well as having his own Twitter handle, @martinthecarton.

advertising case study Save Martin microsite

Great Campaigns Last

The Martin the Carton campaign more than tripled the response that Traulsen received from the previous year's giveaway campaign, leading to a sales increase of more than $100,000 as a direct result of the campaign. The advertising campaign was so successful that Traulsen is using Martin again for their 2016 campaign, and expanding him into School Nutrition Association trade shows and sales materials.
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advertising campaign Martin the Carton summary