Vaseline “Prescribe the Nation” by Ogilvy

To promote the launch of its Vaseline Clinical Therapy skin cream, Unilever turned to Ogilvy for a viral campaign that would demonstrate the power of the product in a grassroots, hands-on way. In the year since the viral campaign “Prescribe the Nation” began in Kodiak, AK, over 3 million prescriptions have been given from customer to customer.

“The brief was open as to how best we should get the product into the hands of consumers,” explains David Korchin, Creative Director at OgilvyOne Worldwide. “One of the ideas generated early on was, what if the product was so good you could prescribe it to another person.”

After investigating a few North American locales as potentials spots for the campaign to begin, Kodiak, AK, was chosen both due to the effects the harsh weather can have on residents’ skin and because it’s an isolated, small community that lends itself well to the viral nature the campaign demanded.

A single person, Petal Ruch, was given a bottle of the lotion and, based on her prescription, other people in town began using it. A $1-off incentive was offered to anyone who prescribed the product to someone else. Many of the Kodiak residents are featured in videos on the product site using the lotion.

The integrated campaign based on Kodiak’s viral spread of the product incorporated television, digital, in-store and out-of-home. 

“We thought we would go down a more emotional route but we kept the campaign product-focused and it wound up staying in that rich storytelling environment,” says Danielle Gontier, account director at Ogilvy.

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