Friday, April 09, 2010

New Clearasil campaign concentrates on the Science...of Looking Awesome

This brand review was written by Katie Pendlay, our global design director at Stinson Brand Innovation.

Clearasil, a Reckitt Benckiser-owned brand, introduced a new campaign a couple of weeks ago called “The Science of Looking Awesome.”

The brand is no longer using the humorous approach of last year’s campaign. They had previously pitched the product to teens, but are now shifting to 18-21-year-olds. The ads last year were based on a tagline of “May cause confidence.” In a commercial titled “Lipstick,” a teenager asks a girl if he can “borrow her lipstick,” and then he kisses her on the lips. In another ad, teenage boy gains so much confidence he even hits on his friend's mother. These ads caused a bit of controversy, so perhaps a shift to something more reverent is the underlying reason for the shift. Many believed that the racy ads aimed at teens crossed a line. Perhaps they are trying to keep up with the current research findings that teens are more overtly sexual and they need to be more risqué with the advertising in order to appeal to that age group. Now,  both the print and TV ads use graphics including diagrams of chemical bonds. Procter & Gamble’s Olay has also shifted to a more scientific positioning with launches of Pro-X and Olay Total Effects.

This shift of approach can be analyzed using one of our proprietary tools, Action Shoes®.  Action Shoes is a tool and a method that:
  • analyzes actions
  • creates options for actions
  • helps group people by similar action styles
  • helps create breadth of action possibilities
If we were telling the story of “Clearasil” using the six shoes in Action Shoes, the old campaign used the pink slipper. The pink slipper’s association is emotion and people. It is fun and “warm and fuzzy.” The old campaign’s use of humor, as crass as it might have been to some people, still showed the personal relationships and personal needs associated with the product.

If we were to look at the new campaign, perhaps the Navy formal would be the shoe they are currently using. The Navy shoe concentrates more on the formality of the product — the protocols, procedures and guidelines, and in this case, the science.

But let’s not throw away the pink slippers just yet; Clearasil is not moving away from its core message of "confidence." Michael Fanuele, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG, said Clearasil is “emphasizing a different part of the story: What goes into the products we make as opposed to simply celebrating what it does. It’s a fiercely competitive category, and at the end of the day, consumers want to choose something that works.” 

1 comment:

Mindy Day said...

I'm a 19 year old girl and i HATE that tag-line. It sounds exactly what it is- a bunch of middle age suits trying to sound like teenagers by using the word "awesome". It is on the same embarassing level as if a parent says "cool" and uses Facebook. Totally not awesome.