Skincare Psychology, Evolved
Posted: November 16, 2011 | 8:10 ET by Nick Parish
Ah, yes, welcome--lie down please. Welcome to Herr Doktor Nick von Contagious' center for psychoanalytic studies.
In our last Globelink installment Real-time Rewind we talked a bit about the ideas behind real-time marketing, the call and response many marketers are trying to set up with people in order to not only deal with issues and problems more readily, but also project the image of a caring, responsive brand. This time, we're going to look at a more specific area of focus and sift through some messages that marketers are delivering in more novel ways.
The beauty industry was built on the ‘create problem/sell solution’ approach. Personal care, cosmetics and beauty brands are constantly trading on image and insecurity. People want to look their best, and for as long as we can remember, products in this realm have been sold with ideas of fulfillment at their heart. The confidence and poise they bring out will allow the real you to shine, attract a potential mate or lead a life of happiness. Not much has changed in recent years.
But we've seen three campaigns recently delivering this message in interesting ways, taking basic brand conceits and executing them with subtle pop-psychology twists, a bit of twenty-first century texture for the savvy consumer that's seen it all.
Teaching the touch
The first comes from Nivea, global skin care brand owned by German firm Beiersdorf. In its UK 'Million Moments of Closeness' campaign, the company has commissioned academic research on closeness and created a forum to let people express what it means to them. The Nivea positioning, aligned with the ‘Feel Closer’ strapline, invites people to moisturize more frequently and thus, feel more apt to be closer.
Working with the University of Manchester's head of psychological sciences, professor Geoff Beattie (who also happens to be the in-house shrink on Big Brother), the brand wanted to work out whether or not there was any truth to the 1966 study claiming Britain was a 'zero-touch' nation. Further, 'has the use of new media brought people closer together or is it tearing us apart?'
Beattie's research found the British populace is more tactile than it used to be, with couples in public touching an average of 130 times per hour, way up from the original study. He also interpreted existing studies with regard to the brand's question, including the findings in the research packet.
Meanwhile, ten groups of film students produced minute-long films on what closeness meant to them. Online voters determined favorites, and some won a bag of Nivea goodies for their trouble, in addition to being entered into a London Film Academy weekend. Photographer Nick Daly shot families and friends to find 'real moments of closeness', and Facebook users could submit photos of their closeness. Prizes were given to the group whose body language, as analyzed by Beattie, showed extreme closeness; the Nivea saw over 91,000 photos submitted.
Wipe away anonymity
In a fun twist on Dove's ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, concealer Dermablend has taken its turn in the stop-motion makeup chair, showing what the product--developed to cover tattoos, scars and medical conditions--can do. Dermablend put model Rico Genest under a coat of its concealer, effectively turning his body into a blank canvas.
The gimmick? Rico Genest also goes under the name ‘Zombie Boy’, because most every inch of his body is covered with tattoos that make him look like a zombie. He took a turn in Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' video, where the star appeared in makeup to mirror his body art. So, the brand did a video that had a strange reveal, where Genest wiped off a bit of makeup to reveal his tattooed skin, then the process, in reverse-stop-motion, revealed the elaborate makeup job. The effort, through Montreal's Tuxedo, also offers more information on a microsite, polling users to find out if they've ever made judgments based on external appearances.
It's lovely that they've managed to make a product demonstration at the middle of the proposition and make it so engaging and interesting, yet not diminish from the entertainment level of the effort. And it's speaking to a post-Dove crowd; a crowd that understands the level of artifice created in mainstream media and fashion glossies, that's cognizant of the trickery, but is still in it for the fun.
In another quirky piece of branding, of Unilever's European shower gel and bubble bath brand Radox claims it's produced the world's most relaxing piece of ambient music.
The brand partnered with renowned musicians Marconi Union, a therapeutic sound practitioner named Lyz Cooper and a neuromarketing firm called Mindlab International to produce an eight-minute track called Weightless. Radox then went on to measure people's biofeedback to validate its 'most relaxing' claim.
According to the testing, the track was more relaxing than a massage, and other types of relaxing music, such as Enya. Prospective listeners can download the track on the brand's Facebook page, in the Radox Spa area.
Earned media has been substantial. The brand built a scare-tactic angle into the findings, the warning that people shouldn't be listening to the track while driving. That was enough for the Daily Mail, Britain’s biggest selling daily paper, to issue a strong headline. Marconi Union put the track on its Soundcloud page, where it's earned more than 160,000 plays already.
What's interesting about this is the bath gel may not be relaxing at all, but it's ok, because you haven't purchased it. You have acquired a means of relaxing independent of purchasing a product, though, which strikes us as benevolent and positive.
So what’s to learn from these three examples? Find something interesting to talk about, as in the case of Nivea’s investigation into British body language. If the product is amazing, don’t shy away from showing it. This doesn’t matter if you’ve got great concealer or great bulletproof glass (as one Texas-based armor manufacturer recently demonstrated, allowing his employee to fire an AK47 blast at the glass he was standing behind to test its strength). Lastly, the tangential value your brand can offer is something derived from understanding what you stand for. If your bath soap brand stands for relaxation, and tries to own that whole experience, wherever it may be, you’ve got a lot more interesting avenues available.
< Next PostPrevious Post >