I first came across this direct mail piece at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival last summer, and was blown away by the simplicity of the idea.
The assignment, dubbed “Torture Test,” was to promote a Unilever-brand detergent called Breeze Excel in Thailand. The product claims that it can clean your toughest stains in one wash. Consumers were skeptical.
So, Lowe Bangkok came up with the idea to send a T-shirt-wrapped box that contained the product sample to mostly women’s social groups across Thailand.
They focused on mailing the piece to rural areas where traditional media, such as television and magazines, are limited.
After going through the rigors of the national mail system, the T-shirt becomes a stained mess, virtually screaming out for the consumer to wash it. Once the box is opened, a tag line reads “Confidence to remove stains in one wash.”
This entices the once skeptical consumers to try the detergent for themselves, and prove the theory in their own homes.
Because the product is the focal point of the marketing, it essentially sells itself when the T-shirt arrives as a dirty mess, accompanied by the detergent sample to wash it clean.
Now I know that this is not your average direct marketing piece, especially with a budget far exceeding the amount most companies are willing to spend. But, when you compare its production costs to that of shooting a commercial with a spokesperson, and paying for the media to run it during The Oprah Winfrey Show, there is no comparison.
They didn’t need television. They didn’t need print or radio. What they needed was a great idea that could drive trial and word-of-mouth buzz across
Thailand, and in turn increase awareness and sales. And, in addition to a winning Gold Lion at Cannes… that is exactly what they got.
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