Ban’s New Message To Young Ladies: Don’t Sweat It

In an effort to update Ban’s message and become more relevant to the Andrew Jergens brand’s female audience, Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners breaks an effort today that portrays the deodorant as a mere footnote in the life of the college-age woman.

Two 15-second TV spots—the New York agency’s first campaign for Jergens, a $95 million account won last August—eschew the common category formula that equates dry armpits with personal success. Instead, the ads use quickly cut montages of confident young women bucking convention and making social statements such as “Ban hate.”

In one execution, a young woman wearing a T-shirt that reads, “Ban conformity,” dances at a punk party, while another, clad in flip-flops, Capri pants and a shirt that reads, “Ban self-doubt,” struts onto a high-fashion runway. In another spot, a skateboarding chick lets the seat of her pants do the talking—she swoops up a halfpipe and turns 180 degrees to reveal the slogan “Ban fear.” The tagline is, “We’ll take care of sweat and odor. The rest is up to you.”

The work will break on prime-time cable and network TV, including shows that target a youthful demographic, such as Fox’s American Idol and WB’s Charmed and Gilmore Girls. KB+P pegged spending at $14 million.

“A lot of this [category] stuff is pretty in pink and all that bullshit,” said Logan Wilmont, co-ecd at MDC Partners-backed KB+P. “It’s so patronizing. We were trying to do a non-patronizing, intelligent campaign by not overstating the importance of an anti- perspirant in your life.”

The work targets 17- to 24-year-old women as Ban looks to move into a category that features younger-skewing deodorants such as Unilever’s Dove, and out of an older-skewing category that includes Church & Dwight’s Arrid, Procter & Gamble’s Secret and Unilever’s Sure, said Candace Corlett, principal at WSL Strategic Retail in New York.

“It will all be in the power of the creative to make Ban a young brand,” said Corlett. “I guess they’re counting on a generation that has no recollection of the old Ban. It’s an opportunity to relaunch an old brand to a new audience.”

Jergens acquired the roll-on brand in 2000 and spent three years tinkering with the formula, particularly in offerings such as gel and solid deodorants, said Brad Kirk, client vp of marketing and sales. In 2003, Jergens began repackaging the 50-year-old brand in pink and purple hues for a more feminine look.

“It became very clear that Ban needed to be successful in the solid form, a segment of the market which is a younger-skewing segment,” Kirk said. “Kirshenbaum came up with an insight that there was an underserved market opportunity for young women from both a demographic and psychographic perspective.”

For the year ending Feb. 21, deodorant-category sales—including supermarkets, drug stores and other mass-market outlets (excluding Wal-Mart)—totaled $1.2 billion, down 2 percent from the previous year, according to ACNielsen.

Ban’s last ad effort, by Bozell in New York, presented the product as a way to reduce shaving irritation, with print ads showing razor blades on fire. The tagline: “Ban razor burn.”

Jergens last year spent $15 million on ads for Ban, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.