There are dozens of acne treatments and 'cures' on the market. The challenge for JWT Bangkok and Oriental Princess Natural Products was to break through this mass of mess in order to increase anti-acne sales during the campaign period, in particular to urban, internet-connected young women (18-25) who are prepared to try new treatment but are often cynical about product efficacy.
Competitors' marketing treats acne as a skin problem. With the launch of Oriental Princess 'Natural Cosmeceutical - Anti-Acne' the agency took the fear and shame away from a serious problem by bringing it out into the open, in ways inspired by consumers but using the power of storytelling and media. It started with an intense period of online monitoring, talking and listening with consumers. Using their input to generate stories, Thai award-winning film director Khun Pen-Ek took these stories and turned them into a series of long-format short films that reflected their experiences. Credible medical/dermatological advice was also provided and empathy was enhanced further by tying into the acne online community (acnethai.com)
Sales volume for the campaign period was up considerably on the same period in 2009 in a highly competitive market, the company's biggest sales success in 20 years of operation. The campaign had a positive effect across the whole OP Facial Skin Care range, with total sales rising during the three month campaign period. The target number of new customer attracted to the OP website was exceeded by more than 250%.
Unilever's CLEAR was the best performing anti-dandruff shampoo in the Chinese market according to usage trials, but the brand lacked personality - an important sales driver in hair care in China. It needed a campaign concept that could grow market share by being more effective than regular TV advertising
In a market characterised by almost identical product positioning, it was recommended that the CLEAR brand move away from beauty and become a 'brand for winners'. So Unilever and PHD developed a bespoke branded content concept - a TV drama titled Unbeatable, featuring young, successful characters set in an international public relations agency where the key client is CLEAR shampoo (in Chinese the series title sounds the same as the CLEAR tagline 'no dandruff'). The story was given depth through online character blogs, online forums, social communities and micro blogs. Unbeatable was shown on five leading satellite channels and China's top six online video sites as part of a campaign that included an original theme song and music video, a 15 second commercial using stars from the show, live online cast interviews and chat opportunities, social network games and thematic in-store promotions.
In the month that Unbeatable broadcast, CLEAR's market share hit a record high with an increase of 24% over the previous year's average. Of the more than 447 million Chinese who watched the drama, 90% correctly associated CLEAR with the show. Return on investment was in excess of 740%, making it by far Unilever's most successful branded content initiative in China.