Crazy story. Once upon a time the soap industry made soap that dried out women’s skin.

  Step One: “What the hell is my buddy Jeff talking about?”

Step One: “What the hell is my buddy Jeff talking about?”

Got it clean, but it didn’t moisturize. Skin felt tight and cracked and disgusting. So the soap industry made that yucky feeling go away. Didn’t make the soap stop drying out your skin, though. Just added an ingredient that masked the drying feeling. Didn’t exactly tell anybody that either. What they know won’t hurt us.

But then after years of hard work, Dove – who’ve actually made being honest a part of their brand – figured out how to make a really good soap that DIDN’T dry out your skin. It was actually a sort of industry-changing breakthrough. Like the Higgs-Boson particle of soap, so to speak.

 

  Step Two: “Hey look! All my friends are here – and you know, I was wondering about some of these statuses… And hey! Look at that bodywash!”

Step Two: “Hey look! All my friends are here – and you know, I was wondering about some of these statuses… And hey! Look at that bodywash!”

 

Trouble was, they’d solved a problem no one knew existed. As far as most women knew, the only problem they’d had – that the stuff dried out their skin – had been solved years ago by those nice folks in the soap business.

Ahem.

So we were charged with explaining that there was a problem, but no, wait, we’d solved the problem, but the other folks hadn’t, even though, practically speaking you wouldn’t be able to feel any difference on your skin. And therefore you should buy… hey, where are you going?

I swear to God – it’s challenges like this that get me out of bed in the morning. Because they’re so – what’s the word? – crazy. You have to be really on top of your game to solve this in a way that will resonate with people.

 

  Step Three: “Hah! So THAT’S what’s really going on…”

Step Three: “Hah! So THAT’S what’s really going on…”

 

Fortunately we had Dove on our side, and Dove had spent years convincing women via the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign that they could be trusted. But we had to be careful about it, we had to be playful and fun otherwise it would get preachy and boring. And who wants that?

We also knew something else. That a message like this – about trust and a problem consumers didn’t know they had – would be much better believed and understood if it came from a friend. Even with Dove’s respect and integrity, this was a dicey message coming from the soap industry. Fool me twice, and all that.

So we really had activate everybody’s friends, get them to tell each other so it would be believeable. Which meant it had to be fun.

So here’s what we did:

When consumers looked on their newsfeed on facebook, they would start seeing crazy

  Step Four: I am DEFINITELY doing this… and I am definitely switching to Dove!”

Step Four: I am DEFINITELY doing this… and I am definitely switching to Dove!”

statuses from their friends. Well, crazier than usual. Really bizarre. And with each status there would be a call to action to “learn the truth”. When they clicked on the CTA, they would wind up at the Dove Decoder page, where the statuses of all their friends who’d been here before were arrayed.

And when they slid the decoder over the page, not only would they reveal what their friends’ statuses really meant, but also what other bodywashes were doing to their skin – with creative assets that linked to the TV and other media.

And now that they knew what was going on, they could join in the fun. They could write a status which would be “translated” into a couple of versions they could choose from by our creative generator and – PRESTO! – now they had a crazy status which would intrigue and engage their whole network of friends!

Fun, strategic, brand-building, social, and really different. Crazy, huh?