Media: Strategy Analysis - Scherna shows shaving can be sexy

Brand: Scherna AquaShave Client: Conair Brief: Launch the new Scherna AquaShave Target audience: 16- to 24-year-old men Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media: MediaCom Creative: Emap Advertising Online: Emap Advertising PR: In-house

STRATEGY

Scherna AquaShave is an electric shaver that is designed to be used in the shower with shaving foam or gel. In the UK, the electric shaver market is dominated by global brands - such as Braun, Philips and Remington - which are a formidable force for others already competing in this category.

Philips spent almost £800,000 in 2005 (Nielsen Media Research). Scherna had to be different to be noticed.

MediaCom pinpointed men aged 16 to 24 years old as the most receptive group, because their shaving habits were not yet set in stone. It deliberately avoided the most obvious route: targeting young men on a small budget through press ads in men's lifestyle titles.

Instead, MediaCom devised a campaign that might actually engage the audience.

Rather than spread the budget thinly across magazines, it took a "sacrifice and commit" approach and focused the budget with one media owner to deliver a cross-platform campaign.

EXECUTION

Scherna needed to partner with one media brand that could deliver content using multiple platforms, while informing and amusing the audience. FHM was the perfect media brand to partner, as it is synonymous with men's lifestyle and connects with men in different stages throughout the day on its multiple platforms.

As there was no existing creative, MediaCom and Scherna worked with Emap Advertising to develop bespoke, fully integrated creative tailored for each platform. The aim was to show young men that there is something else to do in the shower other than wash, so a compelling creative idea - featuring two naked women in a shower - was produced to run across FHM's platforms.

- Press and online: In FHM magazine, MediaCom ran a steamy advertorial, which was then used to create a microsite on FHM.com - with the main advertorial image downloadable as a wallpaper. There were also images from behind the scenes of the photo shoot and a page with more information about the Scherna AquaShave that linked to the Argos website, where the Scherna could be bought. The online activity was then topped off by sponsoring the "girls" section of the website for a month and taking over the homepage on the launch day.

- TV: The sponsorship was also extended to FHM TV, where Scherna sponsored the Girls, Girls, Girls strand - showing the sexiest videos every evening, in conjunction with an on-air promotion to win a weekend for two in a boutique hotel. The creative featured a man in the shower with two women shaving his face. Two versions were produced; one to run before the watershed and a steamier one to run after 9pm.

Scherna was then featured in the FHM Friday Newsletter (sent to 341,000 subscribers) where the full, uncut TV sponsorship ident was streamed.

RESULTS

Scherna AquaShave cut through and positioned itself as a sexy challenger to the mainstream shavers. As well as significantly exceeding sales targets, Scherna captured data on prospective customers via online activity and succeeded in engaging with the audience, 52 per cent of whom saw two or more of the campaign elements.

THE VERDICT - Iain Jacob chief executive, Starcom MediaVest EMEA

Ah, it is always reassuring to see that the old approaches to promotion still work. Whether it is "slippery when dry" (geddit!) or the "Lynx effect", this is a well-tested route. While it may not be the most original, I am sure it works and, besides, whoever went bust underestimating the taste of young British males? Certainly not FHM.

So, I have no intention of getting too po-faced on the basic appeal of this strategy. That said, in comparison with Lynx, this really does fall short. What makes Lynx so engaging is its use of humour - more smart than smut. Take away the humour and you end up with just another product trying to catch the attention of hormonal males.

Mind you, I did laugh out loud at the idea that a 16-year-old boy, having made the effort to click on to the "behind the scenes" section of FHM.com, would reach for the helpful link to the Argos website to buy the shaver.

I suspect that he might just be too busy reaching for something else.

On a more serious note, MediaCom has undoubtedly made the comparatively limited budget work hard. Scherna AquaShave is operating in a market where the competition seeks to dominate by simply out-shouting each other.

Focusing Scherna's money to create impact is undoubtedly the right thing to do. In addition, some real effort has gone into crafting this work and the MediaCom team should be applauded for the fact that they did not take the easy, lazy route.

So once you put aside some of the jargon - "sacrifice and commit", "cross-platform", "fully integrated" - what we have here is a really strong media-led promotion, and that is its simple strength.

Finally, I do feel that this team should receive some sort of special achievement award. Having sat on a judging panel with MediaCom's chief strategy officer, Sue Unerman, while she judged our own Foster's Pit Girls FHM work (beer, girls, fast cars - you get the picture), I know, first-hand, her deep appreciation of this type of approach to using women in marketing. To get "slippery when dry" past Sue really is an achievement not to be underestimated.

Score: 3 out of 5.

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