Case Studies

Culligan’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” Promotion

Client Brief

Culligan is a world leader in filtration systems and water treatment solutions for the residential, commercial and industrial markets. Its experienced network of local water treatment professionals provides bottled water delivery, water testing, installation and maintenance of all water treatment solutions. Supporting this highly trained dealer network with high-impact communication tools and promotions is key to the 80-year-old brand’s enduring success.


To develop a special, limited-time offer to drive business to Culligan’s dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada by encouraging homeowners to trade up to better, more efficient water softener solutions. Also, to earn a greater share of the residential water softener business by swapping out competitive units for Culligan products.


Develop a fun, easy-to-understand offer that encourages homeowners to swap a tired, old, inefficient unit for an advanced softener that would improve water quality while saving energy and minimizing cost of operation. The promotional theme – “Wanted Dead or Alive!” – is an engaging creative spin on the old-timey posters of Western folklore. The quirky, retro feel captures people’s attention and boldly states the campaign’s key message: “We’ll pay a reward for your old water softeners, whether they work or not!” Something for nothing… who could refuse!


To give the dealers multiple options to connect with their audiences across a variety of channels, the “Dead or Alive” theme was applied to more than a dozen individual program components including: direct mail postcards; print, broadcast and digital ads; flyers; bill stuffers; door hangers; and web landing pages. The program was housed on Culligan’s user-friendly online marketing portal – “Marketing Central” – for easy dealer access and program customization. The flexible design structure developed by Heinzeroth allowed dealers to select modular components to accommodate their personal preferences and regional differences in water solution challenges.


The program proved to be a highly popular and successful sales event, a promotion worthy of annual consideration. Culligan dealers reported significant increases in sales leads and installations… not to mention the number of competitive softeners that were happily sent to the recycling companies. In recognition of the program’s unmistakable style and engaging creative execution, the Culligan “Wanted Dead or Alive” campaign was awarded a Silver Addy by the American Advertising Federation of Northern Illinois.

“Heinzeroth has done a good job of giving life to the ‘Dead or Alive’ promotion — one of the most successful promotions we run all year for our dealers.”

Erv Rokosh, Director of Marketing, Culligan International

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