Unilever’s Surf Excel recently unveiled a new ad campaign called Surf Excel Tez Solutions. The campaign is interesting because it is heavily focused on content creation, especially in the digital arena.
The campaign is meant to create awareness among consumers about changes in the formula of Surf Excel. The formula has been strengthened in order to remove stains in half the time it takes ordinary detergent to do so (hence the focus on tez). Although the change is global, the brand team says the innovation is especially important for the Pakistani market, given the competition and the large consumer base.
The change in formula is particularly important in a market where the majority of households own an electric washing machine. Surf Excel, which is primarily designed for use in washing machines, previously came in a low lather formula. The new formula has high foam levels which is said to help washing machines remove stains easily. Furthermore, the formula has also taken into account the fact that the northern areas of Pakistan generally get hard water and the product works well even in this instance.
In addition to the change in the formula, the packaging has been modified and only two elements are on the pack: the logo and the key message: ‘removes stains in half time’.
According to Amna Riaz, Senior Brand Manager, Surf Excel at Unilever Pakistan this simplified packaging is based on the insight that while shopping, consumers spend only a few seconds looking at a product and therefore only the most important information was included on the pack.
Despite these value additions, the price of Surf Excel remains the same because according to Riaz, the brand needs to remain competitive and wants the advantages of stable dollar and commodity prices to trickle down to the consumer.
The advertising campaign for the new Surf Excel is based on the word tez across all communication. While retaining the ‘Dirt is Good’ philosophy which propagates that children should be free to experience life and get dirty for their physical, cognitive and emotional development, the campaign focuses on providing quick solutions to daily problems faced by mothers.
Although the TVC (conceptualised by Lowe Lintas India) is fairly standard in it shows a group of young boys coming up with a quick solution while they are playing a game of football, there are many other elements to the campaign. On the cooking channels, for example, Surf Excel is branding quick recipes, on music channels, quick song mashups, on entertainment channels, movies that have a fast paced theme, and on the news channels, the brand has developed a Tez Khabri segment, during which news anchors used the words ‘fast life’ and ‘tez’ in connection with the news aired, although the brand was careful not to endorse any specific news story. On radio, Surf created similar tez segments during which the RJs talked about how life has become fast and the things that help make our tez life easier – in the same way that Surf Excel helps in removing stains faster.
The digital campaign – ‘Nikalain Tez Solutions Half Time Main’, developed and executed by Lowe Digital in Pakistan, consists of a series of short videos offering easy solutions to mothers and promoting unstructured play in children. These videos are posted on Surf Excel Pakistan’s Facebook page, website and Dailymotion channel.
Riaz says the tez videos have done exceptionally well, gaining popularity among mothers. She adds that despite high levels of internet penetration in Pakistan, most brands do not engage with mothers and housewives even though they do have a presence on Facebook, therefore Surf Excel has kept active engagement as the key KPI.
Rather than focus on product placements or brand-centric communication, which according to Riaz, do not really work on digital, the Tez campaign wants to help mothers by giving them tips that will make their lives easier and their children happy.
The brand also offers solutions in the form of frequent status updates such as: “Bachon ko ice-cream khaney se kaun rok sakhta hai? We have a Tez Solution that will save you from all the mess .”
The Surf Excel Tez Solutions campaign will run until December 2014, following which the brand plans to unveil other activities, especially BTL activities such as sampling, mall activations and school programmes.