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Case Studies


Hawaiian Tropic re-launch campaign

Hawaiian Tropic re-launch campaign

By Katie Maloy, Managing Director Touch Media


When approached by Hawaiian Tropic Europe to embark on a PR campaign we were faced with a great challenge for a consumer agency within it’s infancy.  We were overjoyed to be representing an established household name brand.

Initially this sounded easy enough to us from a campaign perspective however Hawaiian Tropic had been neglected and poorly profiled for some years with their PR campaigns so we had to create an approach that capitalised on their current consumer knowledge but more importantly educated the media on their growth whilst keeping the core brand ethics at the forefront.

We had some key things in our favour, Hawaiian Tropic was the largest independent sun care range in history and globally (we have since been bought by Energiser) Hawaiian tropic was also the original creator of modern sun protection and the only company that solely produced sun care products.

Hawaiian Tropic products were also endorsed by the International Skin Cancer Foundation so from a press perspective there were solid factors to build up faith within the brand.

What we weren’t expecting was the number of journalists who had basically ‘forgotten’ about the brand. The response we received was a lot of ‘I didn’t know they were still around’. This press invisibility is often probable when there is not a press campaign active or one on a smaller scale.

We saw this as a brilliant challenge, almost a way of starting over with the brand and using at as an opportunity to put our stamp on the campaign. In the first year we were representing Hawaiian Tropic it was also the first year that Touch Media was trading and there were many similar shared values and brand identities between the two companies and I feel this was the key to our amazing ongoing success with the campaign.

An additional challenge we faced was how to keep an archetypal summer brand alive during winter press coverage. Hawaiian Tropic also produce a body care/ accessory line that is trans-seasonal, the press was not aware of this so we had to slightly adjust their pre conceptions of what Hawaiian Tropic could offer them. 

Essentially our predominant aim was to finish off the season and feel that the press had received contact from us and were left with an impression of Hawaiian Tropics core values. How we set out to achieve this was saturate the Hawaiian Tropic ethos in all the contact that we made with the UK press.

The brand is very fun and sexy and really about making yourself look and feel good and healthy. Apart from the day to day managing of the campaign of pro-active exercises and re-active requests we do two major send outs to 100 key press contacts per season.

One of the send-out goes out in February to appeal to the long lead glossies and as a head start for the weeklies summer features and the second send out in May/ June as a more timely hit for the weeklies and Nationals.

One of the send outs is fun and the other more glamorous. The send outs have underlying brand messages also with what we chose to accompany the product samples and a journalist gift, usually beach wear or beach accessories of some description.


For example the first year we sent out an original LP record (still in working order) and had the press release designed as the record sleeve to communicate the retro feel of the brand, the images, language and product selections all complimented this retro 60’s, 70’s feel.

The second send out was a luxurious leather embossed hot pink passport cover with a bespoke passport created for the journalists reading, The sunkissed majesty of the republic of the tropics entitileing them to tan freely.

It was a fantastic concept and appeared like a real passport with stamps from Hawaiian Tropic and detailed the kind of journey the products could take you on. We have also sent out inflatable pools, surf boards, crates of cocktail ingredients, etc. Each send out is usually large and the press release is printed on large objects.

Our strategy was to never send out paper press releases and I am proud to say we have upheld that commitment to the brand. The send outs get delivered by male models in beach wear and wearing the Hawaiian Tropic signature oil products as a fun distraction for the journalists and to create a talking point for individual publications. 

Within our first year of representing Hawaiian Tropic our main aim was to leave an impression on the press, we wanted them to know what position Hawaiian Tropic had within the industry.

We also wanted to provide them with endless ideas and angles about how Hawaiian Tropic would work best for their content and readership so they had an immediate association and had a clear understanding of what it was about the brand that made such fantastic editorial.

Within our second year we more than doubled our press coverage by 133.88 per cent and so far this year we have increased that a further 67 per cent.

Hawaiian Tropic have increased their retail distribution, they are constantly at the forefront of sun care innovation and they continue to develop product line extensions and have an ongoing success with the growth of what is an ever evolving brand.

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