Vaseline Promo, Case study VASELINE BAT by BBH Mumbai

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VASELINE BAT

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Industry Health & Pharmaceutical Products
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market India
Agency BBH Mumbai
Executive Creative Director Russell Barrett
Art Director Kunal Sawant
Copywriter Nikhil Panjwani
Account Supervisor Abhishek Razdan
Released August 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Crisis and Issue Management
Advertiser: HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LIMITED
Product/Service: VASELINE PETROLEUM JELLY
Agency: BBH INDIA
Managing Partner: Raj Kamble (BBH India)
Executive Creative Director: Russell Barrett (BBH India)
Copywriter: Nikhil Panjwani (BBH India)
Art Director: Kunal Sawant (BBH India)
Account Supervisor: Abhishek Razdan (BBH India)
Account Manager: Kanika Vaid (BBH India)
Account Manager: Jay Ladhani (BBH India)
Planner: Dhiren Amin (BBH India)
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - TIMES OF INDIA - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - DNA - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - LOKSATTA - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - HINDUSTAN TIMES - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - ENADU - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - SAAKSHI - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - PRAJAVANI - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - DAINIK BHASKAR - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - DAINIK JAGRAN - 10 AUGUST 2011
Media placement: CONSUMER PR - AMAR UJALA - 10 AUGUST 2011

Summary of the Campaign
“Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman.”
- Michael Vaughan, via Twitter

To many, this might look like a harmless tweet but that wasn’t the case in India. Few things in India can arouse the kind of passion that cricket does. So when Michael Vaughan, a former English cricketer, questioned the integrity of VVS Laxman, a very honest and loved Indian batsman, the entire nation rose in Laxman’s support. However, Vaseline got dragged in for no apparent reason and found itself right at the centre of this national controversy.

It wasn’t just an opportunistic move or social mission. The brand had to change this climate of negative sentiments that it found itself in, through no fault of its own. It rose up to the occasion by not just giving a fitting reply to Michael Vaughan on the front page of the most popular daily newspaper but also communicating the message of the ‘multiplicity’ of Petroleum Jelly. It allowed the brand to not just restore the pride of a nation but also become a part of popular culture.

100,000 fans joined its Facebook page; it was a trending topic on Twitter; it was talked about by Harsha Bhogle, the most popular cricket commentator in India. All this was with one brave and emphatic response. In the end it forced even Michael Vaughan to acknowledge and reply to the Vaseline challenge.

Vaseline won the hearts of the Indian populace. For them, it was no longer just a product: Vaseline was fighting their war and it was on their side.

The Situation
Vaseline petroleum jelly is by far the market leader in the petroleum jelly category, but was experiencing sluggish growth. Other formats like cream were finding more traction, while Vaseline petroleum jelly was slotted as a winter product when it did in fact have more than a 100 year-round uses. We needed to drive home ‘multiplicity’ to drive growth.

The Vaughan controversy challenged us to create a climate of positive opinion around the brand in social/interactive media conversations. The nature of the conversation gave us the opportunity to drive home the message of multiple usages while turning around a negative situation.

The Goal
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly has universal appeal across gender and economic strata. Our target in this case was every Indian who felt hurt and angry by the unfair victimisation of their beloved cricketing star.

Our goal was to turn the allegation into a genuine advantage by driving home the message of ‘multiplicity’ while exciting the youth to participate and interact with the brand.

Our campaign objectives were:

• Take the controversy head-on, turn it in Vaseline’s favour and embed the brand in popular culture.
• Drive home the message of the multiplicity of Vaseline petroleum jelly.

The Strategy
Vaseline enjoys tremendous trust and respect in India. It is known for both its efficacy and integrity. There is no association of trickery with the brand. And here it found itself in the middle of cheating allegation.

Vaughan’s tweet created an opportunity for Vaseline. It had to respond to set the facts straight and change the nature of the conversation. Someone needed to speak for the nation and Vaseline chose to be that someone. However, it needed to be true to the core of Vaseline and not be opportunistic. Vaseline responded to Michael Vaughan by listing down 30 of its multiple usages and telling him in no uncertain terms that using it on cricket bats was not one of them.

The idea behind the campaign was to steer the conversation to all the good things that the Petroleum jelly does to its users, barring dodging the so-called ‘Hot Spots’.

Execution
We used newspaper advertising as the most powerful form of social media instigation. A nationwide front-page release addressed the controversy created by Mr. Vaughan and educated him about the genuine multiple uses of Vaseline and the fact that applying it on cricket bats was not one of them.

The creative appeared in 3 phases to build up to the real blow: an ad with the text, ‘Dear Mr. Vaughan in India, Vaseline is used for:’ and a mention at the end to visit the Facebook page of the brand.

The instigation began in mass media but we structured the campaign to urge consumers/cricket enthusiasts to act/respond/converse by actively participating in the campaign in the social media space.

So while a front-page print made Vaseline and India’s response known, it was in the social media space that the movement came to life through the Facebook badge application.

Documented Results
• Added 100,000 fans on Facebook in 3 days. Positive conversations around it and hundreds of people made the print ad itself their Facebook profile picture.

• 8,000 'liked' the app and 1,400+ applied the badge to their profile.

• Over 1,500+ tweets in a few hours.

• 50+ mentions on blogs/sports websites and articles appeared in over 20 national dailies.

• Extensive coverage with discussions and mentions on TV news channels and radio stations, ran as breaking news on NDTV, a leading Indian News channel.

• Generated over 30m INR in free/unpaid media.