Kern & Sohn makes extremely sensitive measurement instruments, including scales that detect minute differences in weight. To demonstrate its scales' precision, the company sent Kern the Gnome on a series of missions, which he then documented in “white papers.”
As part of the experiment Kern, who's made of metal, was packed in a case with one of the scales and dispatched from mountain tops to the bowels of the earth. To document it, three ads were run in selected science-supply journals celebrating amazing scientific stories that aren't common knowledge.
The ads—written as scientific “white papers” by Kern the Gnome himself—detailed each of Kern's visits, including his trips to the Amundsen Scott Research Station at the South Pole and the Sanford Underground Research Facility, aside from fun and serious facts about Kern itself.
Most important, the “papers” explained how the scale demonstrated that the gnome's weight varied slightly at different points on the globe, proving that gravity varies around the Earth.
After running in just three magazines, the “white paper” ads—designed as direct response mechanisms—sparked interest in the gnome story, generating nearly 1,000 new requests to weigh it, more than 7,000 new visitors to gnomeexperiment.com, and a 27% surge in visits to Kern & Sohn's website. Additionally, two major distributors signed up with Kern after viewing the ads; the deals will result in an estimated 5,000% ROI in the coming year.
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*Success story courtesy of www.twosides.info