Beiersdorf's Nivea: Invisible Black & White Deodorant Launch


Client: Nivea
Brand: Invisible Black & White Deodorant
Category: Health & Beauty
Agency: OMD Singapore/Airwave
Country: Singapore
Year: 2014


Campaign Summary

In launching its Invisible Black & White Deodorant, Nivea faced the challenge of reaching young and active males and convincing them that their current deodorant choices – focused on reducing perspiration and preventing odors -- did not effectively deal with the issue of unsightly armpit stains. However, once made aware of this issue, Nivea felt the target audience was image conscious enough to be bothered about how unsightly armpit stains can be, regardless of whether the stains are caused by perspiration and/or other deodorant products. They simply may have not been aware of other products that were available in the market at that time.

With these insights in mind, Nivea was able to identify its target as men between the ages of 20 - 40 years old, and market insights further identified that they spent over 125 minutes per day on mobile devices, and were avid mobile gamers. Thus, Nivea developed a mobile campaign that used gaming to emphasize the product’s value proposition.


Objective and Context

The key value proposition of the product is that it inspires more confidence by allowing men to go about their daily lives without even thinking about their underarms. For the audience to appreciate the product’s Unique Selling Proposition, Nivea needed them to feel self-conscious about stains that they might have on their existing clothing. Essentially, the strategy was to “Exploit the most personal medium to highlight a personal problem. Causing pain through a game to emphasise stains.”

Nivea used mobile to implement its strategy because it was the best way to make its target audience aware of a very personal problem; mobile is always within easy reach and is the target’s window to all of their private photos, videos and connections. Knowing the audience is avid gamers, the brand created a mobile rich media banner based on the phenomenally popular Paper Toss app, which simulates throwing a crumpled up piece of paper into a trash can. These men over-index in smartphone media usage and they are technologically savvy individuals who are constantly connected and on-the-go.

Prior to the campaign and the launch of Nivea’s newest deodorant product, the functions of deodorants in the market were largely confined to two primary purposes: Reducing perspiration and elimination of odors. Consumer sensitivity to other hygiene issues -- such as unsightly sweat and deodorant stains -- was kept at minimum, as the underarms are a commonly overlooked body part in an active person’s day-to-day activities. By inducing the target audience to perform an activity that would expose any glaring underarm stains, the brand was able to draw attention and deliver a punchy message that sensitised them to such hygiene problems.


Creative Strategy

Using the accelerometer in mobile devices – which can measure acceleration caused by gravity or movement -- the Paper Toss game-play encouraged each user to subconsciously elevate his arm. The joy of a successful throw – accomplished by flicking their smartphone -- was quickly met with an awkward message, questioning whether the user was confident about raising their arms. The user journey ended with an introduction to the product as the 'solution' to problematic perspiration stains.

The game highlighted how simple acts, which consumers do not consciously think about, might lead to embarrassing situations. Mobile’s ability, as a platform and device, to reveal the problem of underarm stains through gaming, created consumer interest and was the key strength it could achieve over other platforms.

A combination of high-impact media channels was utilized to support the effort, including magazines (6 percent), out-of-home  (59 percent) and mobile (35 percent). By utilising channels that users could consume on the go, the campaign generated 24 million mobile impressions, thereby amplifying brand and product awareness amongst the target audience.

To distribute the gaming experience, Nivea then utilised expandable rich media ad banners that ran on Android and iOS in verticals including Sports, Health and Fitness; Automotive; Technology; and Lifestyle and Gaming, all of which are key environments that the target audience regularly browses.



Before the campaign was launched, the mere fact that Nivea was using mobile as an advertising platform was considered innovative. However, by applying mobile behaviours to the campaign’s creative execution and pushing the capabilities of rich media advertising to the limit, the effort was truly innovative within the mobile category.

The campaign’s 85 percent engagement rate is a credit to both the tight media targeting and the creative potential and engagement from rich media on mobile devices. Combined with the huge impact on sales, Nivea has been successfully converted into a mobile advocate and looks forward to many future mobile campaigns to come.

The effort marked Nivea’s first foray into mobile advertising. Several standout attributes of mobile devices were compelling enough to encourage a brand that has heavily utilised traditional media to venture into the mobile space.

This was also Nivea’s first male-targeted deodorant product launch, making this campaign a clean slate testing ground for future mobile-based executions.

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