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Listerine: Bringing Out The Bold in APAC

Listerine used oral health as its communications approach in Asia-Pacific, with messaging focused on its mouthwash’s ability to kill germs that cause plaque, gingivitis and bad breath, as well as its ability to whiten teeth. But mouthwash is a nascent category with low relevance and low penetration in the region, and oral health and whitening benefits didn’t resonate with Asia-Pacific consumers.

Allison+Partners needed to move Listerine’s mouthwash from an optional add-on to brushing and carve out a distinct space for the product in consumers’ lives. We had to connect mouthwash with their lifestyles.

Listerine conducted a global study and found that its users, regardless of nationality or gender, live bolder lives than non-users. “The Study of Bold” revealed they are more likely to skydive, eat exotic foods, start their own company and even perform card tricks.

However, “bold” means different things to different cultures. In the West, the word is about individual showmanship and bravery. Asian consumers live in a more collective and inclusive society, so tying boldness to rebellion or individualism would be alienating. To Asians, boldness is about the confidence and contagious charisma to win over others and gain social status, often following in the footsteps of celebrities.

Allison+Partners leveraged this insight to inject fresh relevance for Listerine’s Healthy White mouthwash and fuel an integrated communications campaign called “Bring Out The Bold” to reframe the brand as an empowering life champion and drive category growth across the Asia-Pacific. Designed to cover multiple channels, the PR program provided a blueprint to position Listerine Healthy White as a bold lifestyle enabler that gives everyone the confidence to smile and be their best possible selves.

We ideated and conceptualized the campaign, creating a toolkit for the various markets to execute strategy and tactics. Then, we targeted young, thrill-seeking, go-getter consumers through lifestyle media and influencers across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

We customized gift boxes as media kits to encourage media to “See the Difference.” Each gift box featured a bottle of Listerine Healthy White, makeup, as well as beauty and grooming products. It also included suggestions for bold activities, confidence-boosting tips and customized media invitation to our immersive and experiential launch event with key media and trade. Media who attended went on a journey through a series of different activities that included a party at a specially created “Listerine Bold Lounge.” Bold activities included pole dancing, aerial yoga, cat-walking with confidence and a glamorous makeover to help them smile with confidence and be as bold as a star.

With Listerine “Share the Difference,” we drove online conversations and converted consumers by inviting influencers to join a two-week trial program to show the efficacy of Listerine Healthy White. Each influencer got a Listerine Healthy White trial pack to use every day and track their experiences. We then encouraged them to be bold enough to post on their blogs and social media photos of their teeth becoming progressively whiter during the trial.

For the KOL engagement program. We linked a healthy mouth to a beautiful mouth, and our story angles featured expert opinions that highlighted Listerine Healthy White as an essential part of every fresh go-getter’s oral care routine. We invited KOLs to participate in a panel discussion at the media and influencer event. The panel included grooming experts, stylists, psychologists and makeup artists who conveyed the key message that heathy, white teeth lead to a brighter smile and greater confidence.

To generate coverage in lifestyle, beauty, fashion and health publications, our campaign engaged experts, such as dentists, psychologists and KOLs, to discuss the lifestyle benefits of using Listerine Healthy White.

To drive positive and sustained conversations, the markets partnered with various lifestyle and beauty media outlets to organize contest giveaways on their print and online platforms. To secure contest eligibility, participants had to answer a question related to the theme of smiling and being bold. We included a three-month supply of Listerine Healthy White in the prizes, which gave consumers an opportunity to try the product.

To reinforce product superiority and build product awareness for Listerine, we recommended partnerships with specific publications for their annual beauty awards. Being awarded alongside other “Holy Grail” beauty products positioned Listerine Healthy White as an essential item foe any fresh go-getter’s beauty regimen and lent further credibility to the product to be used as a call-out on packaging.

The Results:

The Listerine Healthy White PR toolkit surpassed its business KPIs across markets, and media impressions and coverage exceeded expectations across the Asia-Pacific.

In China:

  • 35 articles and 50 million media impressions
  • Named one of BAZZAR 2016 “must-haves for supermodels”
  • Listerine became the No. 1 oral product among beauty and fashion influencers, according to fashion magazine BAZZAR Yearly Beauty Award/Nielsen

Hong Kong:

  • 16% growth
  • Total reach from KOL Product Reviews – nearly $1.6 million (Facebook and Instagram)

In the Philippines:

  • 165 articles and 340 million media impressions
  • 10% market penetration in Q2 2017 – the highest ever recorded
  • 22.8 million people reached through #BringOutTheBold snackable videos and user-generated content

In Singapore:

  • More than 12.45 million impressions
  • High conversion rate – 87% of those who rinsed purchased Listerine Healthy White
  • Listerine Healthy White became the second-largest SKU in terms of volume during launch month

In Thailand:

  • Listerine Healthy White achieved top three SKU for its retailer and Top 10 in Big C Supermarkets
  • Won the 2016 “Beauty Choice Award” and 2016 Cleo “Beauty Hal of Fame” for best mouth care