Gillette, a century-old global men's grooming brand, dominates the wet shaving category. The increase of current sales largely relies on the growth of unit price, but the sales volume rises slowly in the industry, particularly with gen Z users whose proportion and growth rate are lower than other users. Thus, the company needed to appeal to the younger demographic.
Younger people regard Gillette as a traditional stereotype. How to appeal to more new users in the young market became an important business issue for Gillette. Gillette teamed up with Honor of King, China's top esports mobile game with 300 million active users, to renew the brand image, enhance the brand's youthful attributes, create a cool and trendy image, and close the distance with the younger generation.
Attracting new users is the key to brand growth, and capturing young users means starting where most young people are. Thus, Gillette chose to leverage mobile games, a hand-held market with over half a billion active users daily. In the world of hand-held games, young people are willing to empower their characters, persevere for better results, work as a team, and even show confidence and face diverse challenges.
The brand's target audience for the campaign focused on men between the ages of 18 and 30 who are also mobile esports fans across city tiers in China.
Across cities, Chinese men between the ages of 18 and 22 are heavy users of the game Honor of King, and spend more than five days per week on the game. As such, they seek out news and updates, follow livestreams, and participate in competitions.
The campaign focused on portraying Gillette as one of the necessary items to help young people feel confident and active. Through the creative theme of "#Equipment for your skin, carry you to be king#," young people connect their confidence, positivism, and sense of conviction. The message showed that Gillette enables young people to better organize their image in front of the mirror, helps them face critical moments in life, and empowers them to have more confidence and the energy to overcome challenges.
From the in-depth combination of Gillette's star products and the characteristics of the game heroes, the product embodied the spirit of heroes, customizing high-value co-branded products, and leveraged the custom creative short film that correlates the shaving technique and hero skills.
In the past three years, Gillette Greater China continuously invested in the mobile esports area, such as a collaboration with Cross Fire in 2018, with KPL (official competition of Honor of King) in 2019, with KPL team Estarpro in 2020, and with Honor of King itself in 2021.
From previous learnings, Gillette found that consumers are more interested in the game and characters itself. Therefore, the cooperation between Gillette and Honor of King is on the excavation of players' spiritual demands in the game, catching the best fit with the brand role, empowering players to have more spiritual experiences, and sublimating the game spirit of Honor of King.
Overall Campaign Execution:
Ninety percent of the advertising budget was spent on mobile devices. Based on the rapid development of domestic mobile communication, the viewing traffic and viewing time of mobile content are higher than traditional communication methods.
Also, according to the characteristics of the hand-held game and the target group, the company used refined content customization with multidimensional contact placement to precisely launch the traditional category into the game player's circle.
With full coverage touchpoints in the game players, the co-branded products merged into the game scene, opening the whole chain of consumption and entertainment, and merged both worlds together.
The players preferred social platforms such as Weibo, TikTok, and Douyu. As such, the company launched interactive topics and competitions to create discussion among players. Yinuo, the popular e-sports player, worked as the spokesperson recommending millions of fans.
Pre-events accounted for 17.9 percent of young people's top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) in first-tier cities and ranked third in the shaving category. The marketing campaign reached over 200 million players with strong exposure and garnered 50 million views on the Douyu platform, surging to No. 2 on the platform ranking.
Gillette's brand awareness in first-tier cities increased by 8.6 percent compared to the same period last year and ranked No. 1 in the shaving category (including electric shavers). Young people's brand preference for Gillette increased significantly by 50 percent, and users have a higher favorable opinion of the co-branding, praising the product appearance and advertising creativity, with a better seeding effect (17 percent). The campaign attracts more discussions among younger groups (82 percent of which are under 25 years old).
Also, in the sales performance, new customers account for 70 percent during the campaign period, of which the highest percentage was the main target group of gen Z (66 percent higher than before the campaign), and the actual sales performance in April exceeded the forecast by 276 percent. The brand's collaborations helped sales exceed 10 million.
The campaign was promoted at a tight pace, with posters released on Weibo and a live broadcast on Douyu. At the peak of the campaign, a co-branded video was released on Gillette's official blog announcing the official sale of the product, as well as the promotion of the product through Weibo's hot search for new equipment and recommendations.