Category Archives: Personal Care

Dear Braun

braun_logoDear Braun,

Thank you for reminding me that things are not as they seem.

You see, I’d always thought you were called Braun, to rhyme with dawn.

But it turns out you’re called Braun, to rhyme with crown.

Perhaps everybody knew that.

But I didn’t.

I’ve been hearing all about you, but clearly not properly listening to you, all this time.

It’s good to know that we all see, hear and experience the world differently.

Difference is good.

It’s what makes our jobs in talking to people and coming up with things that make their lives that little bit better such fun.

Thanks again

Ned

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Dear Sudocrem

Sudocrem LogoDear Sudocrem,

Thank you for being an iconic brand that’s on the move.

Too often category leading iconic brands rest on their laurels, failing to capitalise on and leverage their equity – they’re known for being good at one thing and that’s good enough for them.

But not you.

You’re not satisfied with being the category defining grey-pot-with-white-gunk-in-it-that’s-good-for-nappy-rash-and-some-other-stuff-too and I thank you for being a great example of a brand that’s not just sitting back, comfortable with business as usual.

Sudocrem-Antiseptic-Healing-Cream-10162

I want to thank you for your new ad, the very clear takeout from which is that you’re no longer just a nappy rash brand, but now a brand for all sorts of everyday skin scrapes and scratches.

Aside from being a clever little parody of that famous scene from Jaws (a reference which I suspect might be sadly lost on many people), this ad states very clearly that you’re no longer just for babies’ bums.

Of course people have been using you for much more than nappy rash for many years (i.e. as an antiseptic healing cream) and indeed your packaging has said as much – Eczema, Surface Wounds, Minor Burns, Acne, Bed Sores etc.

But it’s great to see you embracing and making a virtue of these alternative usages and applications.

And it’s a notable change in direction from what you’ve been communicating in the very recent past, which firmly consolidated the perception of you in the Nappy Rash trench.

Secondly, I want to thank you for your recent innovation.

 

Sudocrem Mousses Logo

sudocrem_moisturising_mousse

 

sudocrem_sunscreen_mousse

A bold but logical step into an adjacent category and of course leveraging all of Johnson & Johnson’s skincare expertise…I don’t know what ProDerm Technology is, but it sounds good, just what my kids need.

And thank you for taking on a triple innovation challenge

  1. Going into a new category (sun protection)
  2. With a new format (sunscreen mousse)
  3. Requiring consumers to adopt a new consumer behaviour (as in “Wayne, will you ask the nanny to mousse baby Klay, ‘cos I cannot reach from my sunlounger?”

I admire your courage and self-belief.

And thank you for your previous innovation – a skin care cream.

Sudocrem Skin Care Cream

sudocrem skincare for grown ups

 

Thank you for broadening your frame of reference, overtly going after a new target consumer and underlining that you’re about so much more than Nappy Rash.

If it had been me, I would have done the Mousses first and then the Skin Care Cream, but that may be being overly strategic and purist about things.

No doubt you had loads of adults using Sudocrem anyway, so it made sense to develop a product specifically for them, the chances of picking up new users and incremental volume significantly outweighing the inevitable cannibalisation effect.

And who doesn’t want incremental volume?

I do have a slight question mark in my mind about what sits at the heart of the brand at the masterbrand level – the big idea that ties it all together and sits above the Antiseptic Healing Cream, Mousses, Skin Care Cream sub-ranges, but I suspect that will come in due course and I’m looking forward to it.

Thanks again

Ned

Dear Andrex

Andrex LogoDear Andrex,

Thank you for making me slowly recoil from my TV in a way which only usually occurs when I’m watching Embarrassing Bodies or David Attenborough when he’s got the snakes on – I didn’t think that a brand would be able to manage that, but you have done it with your truly hideous “Scrunch or Fold” campaign:

Some people (aka total nutters) may think this is “brave”, but I think it’s awful.

I mean really very, very bad indeed.

W. T. F. are you on, dudes?

Cadbury’s Creme Egg “How do you eat yours?” was fine – all pretty jovial stuff.

Cadbury Creme Egg

But “How do you wipe yours?” (which is in effect what you’re asking people) is not. Not at all.

And you want them to bother going online to Vote for their preferred method?

And who the hell “scrunches” anyway?!

Andrex Scrunch or Fold

Just because some people that you paid to talk to you in a research group – or more likely depth interview – told you about how they configure their loo paper before commencing upon the dreaded but unfortunately necessary act, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE REST OF US WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT!

Puppies fine. Other people’s @rse wiping tactics. Not fine.

And talking of people, what an abhorrent bunch of grotesque caricatures you have chosen to represent your heinous conundrum.

I pretty much hate them all, but the Martini sipping lady is the worst of all.

In the words of one blog I read she’s “a character straight from hell, a woman so depraved and overly sexualised that she even tries to turn wiping her arse into an erotic escapade.”

And please don’t give me any “all publicity is good publicity” / “think of the column inches” / “we’re trying to create a debate, some buzz around the brand” / “we’re trying to break down barriers and taboos” nonsense.

Noise should not be confused with music.

On a different topic, your Andrex Washlets product, as a concept, make sense to me.

A flushable baby-wipe for grown-ups. OK, I get it. And no doubt there’s a decent market for this type of product.

Terrible name incidentally (the previous incarnation Andrex Fresh was infinitely better) but I can get over that.

Andrex Washlets

But you seemed to have totally lost the plot again when it comes to the communication. The Clean Campaign “journey” – fronted by Dawn Porter and with its very own YouTube Channel and Facebook page – is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Words desert me.

Please, please can I never ever go in the Washlet Wagon. Ever.

Thanks again.

Ned

Dear Specsavers

specsavers logo

Dear Specsavers,

Thank you for being the only thing with even the remotest iota of credibility to emerge from the abysmal Chelsea player Eden Hazard “kicks” ball boy debacle. In a Mexican wave of abhorrence, you’ve given me reason to smile with this press and digital ad:

 

 

Specsavers Ball boy

 

So-called pundits may claim that the ball boy was “entitled” to writhe around, but to my eyes the whole sorry affair was a microcosm of almost everything that’s wrong with English football (Twitter (ball boy), cheating (ball boy), play-acting (ball boy), too much money too young (ball boy and players), harassing the ref (ball boy and players), being congratulated for cheating (players), the media’s reaction, the FA’s reaction…need I go on?)

But enough of that.

Well done you Specsavers and your in-house team for seizing the day and doing something topical. You’ve got form:

Specsavers Korean Flag

 

I like this kind of thing.

It’s quick, on-brand, thinking. And demonstrates that not everything in Marketing has to be passed through a complex series of approval committees. So thank you – just goes to show that a fantastic core brand idea – which I thanked you for here – can just keep on running and running.

Talking of great brand ideas, Lynx (brand idea: boy gets girl) did a similar thing after Prince Harry’s exploits in Vegas.

Lynx-Sorry-Harry

 

Doesn’t work quite as well for me as it’s based on supposition (i.e. that HRH might have been wearing Lynx) which is usually somewhat dodgy ground to be on, but nonetheless made me smile at the time.

Anyone got a snappy (cringe-worthy) name for what this type of topical, reactionary marketing should be called? Newsflash Marketing?

Thanks again,

Ned

 

Dear Lacoste

Lacoste LogoDear Lacoste,

Thank you for your Eau de Lacoste ad and for giving us a lesson in how to maximise the brand assets that you’re famous for – in your case, the classic Lacoste polo shirt.

Amongst the sea of festive perfume nonsense – see Chanel here – you’re a shining light, and who can resist a bit of Old Skool hip hop as given to us by Grandmaster Flash?

 

Dior Logo

 

A special mention in dispatches should also go to Dior.

Bringing Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe back to life is impressive enough, but the casting of Charlize Theron, the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles as the set and deeply exciting soundtrack by Gossip, make for glamour that even has me considering a trip to the perfume counter in Boots on Christmas Eve.

Thanks again

Ned

Dear Chanel

Dear Chanel,

Thank you for prompting me to check my irony-radar and for confirming, after a third viewing, that it does not require recalibration.

Not even a hint of irony from Brad.

Not a flicker.

Which makes it all the more astonishing.

Well I’m sure he smells lovely…not that he needs to of course, as Shania Twain aside, I’m not convinced that his smelling nice would be the deciding factor for most ladies.

I can only assume that neither you Chanel, nor Brad Pitt, have seen Zoolander:

Moisture is indeed the essence of wetness.

Thanks again.

Ned

Dear Cussons

Dear Cussons,

Thank you for fully committing to the opportunity that you’ve spotted…the launch of Cussons mum & me demonstrates that you genuinely have the courage of your convictions – which is an affirming thought for those of us working in innovation:

It would have been easy for you to hedge your bets and go with a half-baked masterbrand-led proposition, waiting to see whether or not there was space for a range of products to take on Johnson Baby and the like.

 

But if you had gone that way, you probably would never have known, as the Cussons brand – although well-known and regarded – would not, I suspect, have been strong enough to take on the might of the incumbent category big boys.

However, the endorsed-brand architecture model that you have selected (and are supporting) stands a much better chance of success, being a far more powerful, although admittedly seriously more expensive, tool with which to disrupt the category.

Now I don’t always argue the case for a House of Brands over a Branded House, but in this instance, I think you called it right.

I do like the insightful premise of your launch ad, but personally find it to be somewhat cliched…and way overdone on the soft focus front.

But as a Dad, I guess it’s irrelevant what I think as I’m outside the target market and will end up doing what I’m told anyway (i.e. using the products that Mum chooses).

Mum knows best.

In fact, understanding that what Dad thinks is irrelevant when it comes to “looking after baby” (what an awful, dreadful expression clearly missing either the definite or indefinite article!) is itself a nice piece of insightful thinking.

Thanks again

Ned

PS – Thinking about new babies reminds me of a comparison that I once heard that still makes me smile:

New baby = attention seeking (and receiving) super-diva film star who is adored and gets exactly what they want, when they want it, regardless of behaviour that would be completely unacceptable from anyone else

Mother = baby’s personal assistant / fluffer / chief-make-up artist with non-negotiable 24/7 “always-on” contract

Father = Runner / general dog’s body whose main job is not to think (except when consulted and only then under the premise that all advice – however good – is highly likely to be summarily ignored), but to do what everyone else tells him to…a role that most Dad’s are happy to fulfil incidentally!