Making ‘unsexy’ B2C brands appealing to customers

Making ‘unsexy’ B2C brands appealing to customers
Colm is the editor of MarketingTech, with a mission to bring the most important developments in technology to both businesses and consumers.

Thankfully the old and tired maxim that ‘sex sells’ has been largely replaced by a focus on value in modern marketing campaigns. There is, however, still a need for some brands to try and make themselves a bit more appealing to the average consumer.

Not all brands can be sportswear, cosmetics or any other kind of product that can legitimately get away with having beautiful people at the centre of their campaigns. Equally, not all products are exciting or flashy, no matter how useful or necessary they are.

So, how can a B2C brand promote a product that is not cool, sexy or particularly cutting-edge, still utilise all the tricks and techniques of modern marketing to create really effective campaigns?

We asked two agencies how they tackled the problem.

Richard Tubman, associate director of communications & content strategy, Cutwater:

Cutwater were tasked with coming up with a campaign for a paper towels brand that would really resonate with the sentiment of their target audience.

“While it may seem like a challenge to create an emotional response to something like Brawny paper towels, as good marketers we’re asked to find an angle that drive the emotional message forward.

“To start, we analyzed our social audience and our consumers. We knew that a large portion of our Brawny audience were mothers, most with grown children of their own. We knew that these mothers shared a common history, a legacy of strength and resilience born of the patience and courage it takes to be a good mother, and that Brawny shared a similar history. No matter what product or brand we’re tasked with supporting, unearthing that shared history between the brand and consumer provides the bridge to create emotional advertising. This tactic can and should be applied to any industry or product. 

“We wanted to create a Mother’s Day Spot that combined this shared history with our Brand purpose, and in order to be both authentic and impactful, we looked to the recently-launched Snap Spectacles as a vehicle to catch the eye while also providing functionality and aesthetic to our content. 

“We partnered with real women and mothers to create this film, literally holding up a mirror to the Brawny moms via Snap Spectacles, showing what strong mothers look like through the eyes of a child. We tapped into existing networks of mothers to launch the spot, which drove strong organic reach at launch leading to the film’s success.”  

Amber R. Zent, VP/director of social media, Marcus Thomas:

How do you ensure that consumers not only remember a specific brand of cotton rounds, but also seek them out over their competitors?

“Sometimes it takes a simple insight, a memorable name and category authorities to stimulate conversation about an unknown brand in an unadvertised category full of undifferentiated products. When U.S. Cotton challenged Marcus Thomas to get young women talking about their brand of makeup-removing cotton rounds, Swisspers®, we started with an important insight  – over 50% of women ages 18-34 don’t remove their makeup before bed, causing skin problems. 

“We introduced Sleep Naked, a social media campaign, with the goal of teaching young women the importance of a nightly skin-care regimen. The campaign succeeded, recently celebrating its fifth iteration, through influencer-centric executions including content, charitable tie-ins, sampling, live social chats and in-person events. 

“Millions of women – including the Kardashian and Jenner sisters, who weren’t sponsored influencers – talked about the campaign, resulting in category awareness, and translating to YoY sales growth for the Swisspers brand.

“When brands aren’t inherently sexy, it’s a marketer’s job to create that appeal. Sleep Naked put a sexier wrapper on skin-related content, and inserted our product into the conversation. A provocative name grabbed the attention of consumers in a cluttered space, and the use of popular category influencers generated an otherwise unattainable level of appeal.”



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