Campaign: “Breathe Happy”
Launched: July 2011
Agency: Grey New York
Highlight: A real sense of smell
It all started with something a consumer said during a focus group P&G held for its Febreze odor products: “You can close your eyes, but you can’t turn off your nose.”
“That was the big, big idea we needed to bring to life,” says Tor Myhren, president and CCO of Grey New York.
According to Eric Huston, North American marketing director for Febreze, advertising in the category had become a “sea of sameness” full of fields and flowers. “We wanted to get back to our odor elimination heritage,” he says.
So the campaign from Grey starts with some of the smelliest places on earth—a dive hotel, a filthy restaurant, a toilet, the training room of the Azerbaijani wrestling team—sprays them with Febreze, and then brings real consumers in off the street, blindfolds them and asks them what they smell. After they sniff, they describe floral and citrus scents, not their rank surroundings. When they remove the blindfold, they’re shocked to find out where they really are.
In fact, Grey started out putting the videos together just for a Web campaign, but the reactions from consumers were so convincing, they turned them into the actual TV ads. The “Breathe Happy” campaign has spread globally, now reaching 35 markets across five regions.
The campaign drove people to Facebook (quadrupling Febreze’s followers to 1 million), where they were encouraged to tell their own “odor” stories. Some 15,000 people responded, and several (a son’s college dorm room, a stinky bulldog) were turned into online videos. The brand went on the road, putting New Yorkers in a seafood container and attending events like the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA. “It takes us into people’s living rooms every day. It amps up the authenticity,” says Huston.
Campaign: “Smell Like a Man, Man”
Launched: February 2010
Highlight: 180 videos in two days
It was no accident that the first “Smell Like a Man, Man” ad featuring Isaiah Mustafa’s Old Spice Guy became a viral sensation—that’s why it was launched the Friday before the 2010 Super Bowl, even though it didn’t run during the game. The strategy, according to Mike Norton, communications director for male grooming at P&G, was to capitalize on how people share Super Bowl ads. Results: In six weeks it got 9 million YouTube views. This set the stage for July’s “SLAMM—The Sequel.”
Part 2 started with a second spot starring Mustafa, but the real buzz came when consumers were invited to submit questions to the Old Spice Guy via Twitter and Facebook. Over the course of two days in July, Wieden+Kennedy had a war room of writers, art directors, producers, editors and social media strategists shoot and post over 180 personalized video respon-ses starring the shirtless Guy. To get the campaign to spread quickly, a handful of messages were directed at social media influencers like blogger Perez Hilton, actor Ashton Kutcher and ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos.
About 90 percent of the responses were produced on the fly, according to Norton. They could go from question to final video in less than 30 minutes, with Wieden+Kennedy’s writers pounding out copy and Mustafa often nailing his lines in just one take. “There really was no model for something like this so we let fear and bone-chilling terror be our guide,” says Craig Allen, Wieden+Kennedy creative director.
The results were staggering. On July 12, before the campaign, just 1,600 tweets mentioned @oldspice; two days later, 96,000 tweets included the reference. The response videos were viewed more than 45 million times, and total brand views were more than 100 million. Sales spiked for both the body wash and the overall brand to help it become number one in the category.
Campaign: “Mean Stinks”
Launched: January 2011
Agency: Leo Burnett
Highlight: A movement to stop girl-to-girl bullying
Secret’s agency Leo Burnett wanted the brand to take up the cause of ending girl-to-girl bullying, but the brand’s previous cause campaigns were more sports-related, a clearer connection for a deodorant. Then the agency came up with the name “Mean Stinks,” and Secret embraced the concept, says Susan Credle, CCO of Leo Burnett USA. “It brings the product and the brand and the girls together,” she notes.
Starting out as a Facebook page launched in January 2011, “Mean Stinks” encouraged girls to “say something nice behind someone’s back.” They could use an app to put up “good graffiti” on their friends’ walls, post video confessions about their own bullying experiences and engage with anti-bullying experts. Girls visiting the page didn’t just want to discuss girl-to-girl bullying; they wanted to have a direct hand in ending it.
For the 2012 school year, Secret evolved the focus of “Mean Stinks,” advocating for girls to “Gang Up for Good” and work together to put an end to bullying. Former teen star and current X Factor judge Demi Lovato, herself a victim of bullying, was signed as the celebrity spokesperson. Girls are being urged on social media to paint their pinky nails blue as a sign of solidarity to the cause—what they’re calling the “pinky swear.” A “Mean Stinks” branded version of Secret hit store shelves in August, with $1 going to the Girls on the Run charity for every SKU sold (up to $150,000).
Engagement with the campaign has deepened. In less than a month since Lovato became the spokesperson, Twitter followers have increased six-fold to around 12,000. P&G says it saw an 86 percent increase in engaged “Mean Stinks” Facebook users. More than 2,000 pinky swear photos have been shared.
Next up: P&G and Leo Burnett are testing a kit that will help high schools raise awareness of girl-to-girl bullying and get students active in the cause. “My hope is every year we add something to this conversation,” Credle says.
Campaign: “The Best Job”
Launched: April 2012
Highlight: The human side of P&G
“We honestly never set out to make anyone cry,” says Karl Lieberman, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy Portland of the award-winning “The Best Job” spot that was the foundation of P&G’s Olympics advertising. “We wanted to celebrate some simple universal truths about raising kids, raising Olympians. We were actually pretty taken aback when we sat down in the edit and started getting all teary-eyed.”
Wieden+Kennedy had convinced P&G that a world-class event needed world-class advertising, says Lieberman. Four months prior to the games, P&G posted “The Best Job,” a two-minute film directed by the Oscar-nominated Alejandro González Iñárritu that shows the sacrifices parents make for their Olympians—aligning it directly to the P&G brand. The tear-jerking tribute got some 20 million views and was the most viral ad of the Olympics, getting shared more than 2 million times, according to Unruly Media and MediaCom’s tracking.
Clearly, it struck a chord. “Once consumers—particularly Moms—see this ad, they don’t forget it,” says P&G global brand building officer Marc Pritchard. “It changes the way they see P&G and our brands forever.”
“The Best Job” anchored P&G’s entire “Thank You, Mom” campaign, which included ads for 34 of its brands and sponsorship of 150-plus athletes, and which ran in more than 70 countries. Commercials included Olympic Hero spots highlighting specific athletes and P&G brands. In addition, P&G produced more than 60 “Raising an Olympian” videos shared via YouTube and other digital hubs. P&G even sponsored a venue—its “Family Home”—where moms and families of Olympians could spend time together as their children competed.
P&G’s Olympics effort became a way to connect consumers with the corporate brand. Ending every spot with a P&G medallion created what Pritchard calls “a one-two punch—the human side of our company connected to the product performance of our brands.”
Campaign: “My Tide”
Launched: July 2011
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Highlight: Let the crowd choose the message
Social media has changed the way people talk about the products they buy, especially something like detergent. That’s the premise behind the “My Tide” campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, TV ads which adopt the aesthetics of a YouTube video to reflect the way people live their lives today.
“My Tide is inspired by the fans of Tide,” says Sundar Raman, Tide’s North American marketing director. “With 3.5 million fans on Facebook, we now get more stories.”
Most of the My Tide spots are short, 15-second vignettes with people speaking directly to the camera—a cardigan-clad mom decrying her daughter’s preference for hoodies; parents of triplets discussing Tide vs. a bargain brand; a stay-at-home dad outlining his laundry strategy. According to Saatchi NY, the creative strives for genuine, engaging dialogue. “We use relevant and current topics and the voice is absolutely natural,” says Maru Kopelowicz, SVP, global creative director at the agency.
Each of the My Tide commercials is shot and edited quickly. The Tide team then monitors social media to see which ones spark conversations so it can amplify that message. That’s why the triplets spot, for instance, went into higher rotation—it was produced when many consumers were deciding whether to stick with Tide or buy something cheaper, and appeared to touch an idea that was on their minds. As Pritchard notes, “When they see it expressed in this spot, they recognize it as something that’s true.”
Since the launch of My Tide, the detergent brand has been gaining market share, helping to reestablish its leadership position.
Campaign: “Golden Sleep”
Launched: 2007 (in China)
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Highlight: Adapted globally
As any parent of an infant can tell you, there’s nothing like a good night’s sleep. It’s a simple premise that took Pampers halfway around the world and set the stage for its current global messaging.
The Chinese market had been a challenge for P&G. Not only did it have to persuade parents to buy Pampers, it had to convince many that they needed diapers in the first place; traditional toilet training used kaidangku, pants with a split down the rear. But one thing P&G did hear from Chinese Moms was that they needed more sleep. That was the need to be met.
An exhaustive study done by Pampers with Beijing Children’s Hospital’s Sleep Research Center found that babies who wore disposable diapers fell asleep faster and slept longer. The study then linked extra sleep to improved cognitive development, another important point for the Chinese market. This formed the core of “Golden Sleep” (the Chinese phrase for uninterrupted sleep for babies), a 2007/2008 Pampers campaign in China that drove home the sleep message via ads, in-store events and an online campaign that encouraged consumers to submit photos of their sleeping babies (200,000 were received). Messaging cited the research, using phrases like: “Baby Sleeps with 50 Percent Less Disruption” and “Baby Falls Asleep 30 Percent Faster.”
Pampers has taken the sleep message global, to developing countries such as India (where a “Good Morning Baby” campaign started earlier this year) as well as to established markets in Europe and the Americas. The current Pampers campaign in the U.S.— “Beautiful Mornings” created by Saatchi & Saatchi—is all about how babies wake up dry with Pampers. “[Golden Sleep] was created in one country and then expanded around the world,” says P&G’s Pritchard. “It’s really the way our company operates in order to try to find ideas that work.”