Pond’s Men, a men’s skin care brand, plays predominantly in SEA and South Asia. These markets have a less developed male grooming scene, with the only sizeable opportunity lying in facial cleansers (FC) to drive conversion. Within SEA, the Indonesian market is most critical, contributing more than 50% of Pond’s Men sales. However, since November 2016, the overall FC category in Indonesia experienced a severe decline with a -10% penetration from 2017-18. To add to this, while Pond’s is a leader in female skincare, Pond’s Men was a relatively young brand up against bigger, more established competitors with 3x the market share & 2x the media spend.
In a bid to reverse the decline in sales, the brand identified a business opportunity to launch a new variant, but faced a tough prospect: how do you launch a product your audience has so little interest in? As a challenger brand, we needed to make a strong play for relevance and saliency. By smashing consumer indifference towards Pond’s Men, we wanted to get on their mental shortlist and into their shopping baskets. To get noticed we had to stand apart from the category narrative. While most competitor communication was dominated by alpha-male archetypes, our strategy took a different approach, to speak to the average Indonesian male, the Average Joe. From research we learnt that the Average Joe had a funny bone. While he didn’t respond to the traditional codes of advertising, he was hungry for entertaining content that could be shared with friends. So we set out to create content worth sharing.
However, the simple truth still remained: guys won’t share if they don’t care. While they didn’t care about face wash, they certainly did care about having an oily face. Especially when the oiliness would persist, or appear in situations when it wasn't needed at all. It would make them feel greasy, gross and uncomfortable, to the point where they just didn't feel like touching their own face. This mental unease often put them in awkward scenarios, especially in social settings. These awkward life moments were what every guy could relate to.
We summarized the insight and findings into a single big idea: The Anti-Awkward. Pond’s Men solutions are no mere cleansers, they’re insurance for life’s most dreaded, awkward moments. To bring this to life, we wanted to capture the cringiest, most awkward moment a guy might encounter: the first date.
In the film, we put our everyday average Joe on the oiliest, most awkwardly bizarre first date ever. The date is going reasonably well until our protagonist’s ridiculously oily face attracts the attention of an almost naked bodybuilder. The bodybuilder begins to collect oil from the man’s face to massage it all over his body, much to the horror and utter embarrassment of the couple on their first date. All the while, the man pretends as if nothing is happening, while the woman looks on in confusion. The message: “Awkward moments last long, Pond’s Lightning Oil Control lasts longer”.
The channel strategy focused on sparking conversation amongst men. TV, online video and online display were used to drive awareness. A humorous precision marketing campaign was created to support the hero film. 15s films were customized, featuring more men in compromising oily faced scenarios. Each edit was unique, tailored to distinct male sub-segments – the Peacock, the Sporty Guy, the Executive & the Tribe-ster. KOLs and influencers were also tapped to co-create content to amplify the message and sustain audience engagement.