The Indian Premier League is to India what the Superbowl is to the US. Large sporting events like these that pull a majority of masses to gather around their television screens, and now internet-enabled devices too, have often played launch vehicle for many a brand campaign. An IPL viewer is thus bombarded nonstop with an array of ads; whether he likes it or not, the most he can do is vent out his frustration on social media. But, here’s something that’s really interesting marketing.
Standing out from the clutter of logos around, one brand did something innovative. If you’ve been watching the RCB players in their last two matches, you would have seen ‘Pimple?’ embroidered across the back of their caps. And then during the match breaks, a film told you there’s a solution to ‘Pimple?’ But still, there was no brand name, just #HateThePimple.
That was a teaser campaign smartly pulled off by Himalaya Men’s Face Wash in collaboration with ESP Properties, the entertainment and sports arm of GroupM and media agency Motivator.
It began with a teaser film ‘Does RCB #HateThePimple?’ featuring RCB players – Stuart Binny, Shane Watson, Sarfaraz Khan and Virat Kohli in the locker room. Two members enter with a box of caps and players begin to wear their caps. As Binny wears his cap in front of the mirror unaware of what’s written on the back, Watson begins to laugh at him. Then he laughs at Sarfaraz, who takes off his cap at once and is the first to notice that it had ‘Pimple?’ embroidered at the back.
He tries to get rid of it, unsuccessfully when the voiceover is heard saying that it isn’t easy to get rid of a pimple. Kohli steps in to say that it was not that difficult either. #HateThePimple was flashed across the screen.
The rest of the story was revealed in second film launched later.
It begins with Kohli entering the locker room to freshen up, leaving his bag on the bench. Just then Sarfaraz sneaks in and starts searching through Kohli’s bag hurriedly, suddenly the three are standing right behind him smiling away. Watson asks him, “Pimple problem?” He nods while covering his pimple with his cap. Our man, Kohli then hands him the Himalaya Men’s face wash while the voiceover talks about benefits of the product and that men hate pimples too.
Now RCB players who wore the ‘Pimple?’ caps earlier, are wearing caps with the brand’s logo. The teaser film had been reportedly viewed 1.1 million times on YouTube on the first day. #HateThePimple was pushed by Twitter influencers along with the brand’s and RCB’s Twitter handles too, resulting in massive online buzz and trending on Twitter. Then there’s a selfie contest too.
Smart. Targeted. Strong brand recall
Sporting events, especially one to do with cricket in India, is the best occasion to target young men who are more prone to pimples. Hence, partnering with an IPL franchise team as their official grooming partner is the best possible strategy for any men’s anti-pimple brand. That is plain logic, but the execution here does the trick. #HateThePimple managed to become a talking point amongst the TG, and Himalaya face wash for men got associated as the solution for ‘pimple’.
The build-up generated prior to the brand reveal played well to the curiosity of the masses. The well timed teaser video on YouTube and the hashtag push with the help of influencers on Twitter has made for a healthy buzz. Bridging the offline event with the online world was well thought through, smooth and also a little organic.
It’s unlikely that people would forget this marketing stunt by Himalaya Men in the years to come. Besides, the campaign is certain to win an award or two!