Forget word of mouth, nothing is more powerful than word of mum!
In the fabric conditioner market, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever are bitter rivals. For more than 15 years they’ve jostled for positioning and vied for the attention of their key audience - Mums. In 2006, in an effort to wrestle first place from Unilever’s Comfort Pure in the ‘sensitive skin’ category, P&G rolled out a new product, Fairy. To protect its positioning and explore new avenues for connecting with its target audience, Unilever needed a strategy.
Mums like to share and receive information from their fellow mums. New mums in particular reach out regularly to others for reassurance, support, and advice. From this understanding Ogilvy PR culled the big idea and developed a creative approach that focused on creating a community of mums and influencers – the Comfort-eers - whose focus was on improving babies lives.
Led by chief Comfort-eer and celebrity “yummy mummy”, Tess Daly, mums across the United Kingdom were selected and brought together to create a panel of mum ambassadors, whose charge was to help find the most comfortable baby clothes. For six months clothing was collected, categorized and voted on. Winners were showcased in a fashion show at the London Baby Show at Earls Court, the UK’s biggest mother and baby event. To further extend the brand’s quality of comfort, Ogilvy PR also helped broker sponsorship of a branded play room for visiting families at a regional hospital. For every Mum that helped in the search and for every story posted on the website, Unilever would make a pledge towards the room. By October 2006, enough money had been raised to open the new Comfort Zone at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Did the Comfort-eers conquer the competition? Without any additional advertising or promotional support, Comfort Pure maintained its market share of 12% and kept Fairy below 6%. Ogilvy PR exceeded media targets by 20%. The campaign triggered over 50 pieces of media coverage including broadcast on BBC South West, ITV Calendar North News, Baby Channel TV and LBC radio. The Daily Mail and The Daily Mirror featured the story, as did 27 regional newspapers, 10 Web sites and nearly every parenting magazine and website. In two weeks, over 7,000 mums and dads applied to be a Comfort-eer via the Comfort Pure website (www.comfortpure.co.uk). The surge in mums wanting to be Comfort-eers helped drive a 50% traffic increase to the Comfort Pure website.