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Brylcreem ‘Effortless’ social marketing

Brylcreem ‘Effortless’ social marketing

Best practice from Manning Gottlieb OMD.


Brylcreem is a great British brand, but in order to appeal to today’s new metrosexual man, it was in need of revitalisation. It’s not seen as being a cool product, rather more as a sort of safety net.  Because of the way the target audience uses the product, it’s not a fashion or a style statement.


The market’s a tough one with big players like Vo5, Fructis and Shockwaves who have really strong personalities that, in many cases, really resonate with the audience – especially Shockwaves and its music association.

We needed to appeal to a slightly older audience than the traditional teenage user, and a slightly different type of male: males probably in their first job rather than students, who now go out in mixed groups to bars rather than hunting in all male packs at pubs.

The younger end of the market is just worried about looking wrong, whereas this more settled guy now knows his own style a bit more and is really into looking good but without too much effort and without being obviously over styled.

So, unlike some of the other players in the male grooming market, we wanted to focus on this key understated cool insight rather than on such ridiculously overstyled hair that you can breakdance on!

Strategy and implementation

The “effortless” campaign was developed and also coincides with a new product launch for Brylcreem, the ‘b:’ range – again, designed so that once the younger user has grown up a bit he can stay in the Brylcreem family and also to entice some cool users back into the brand or into it for the first time.

In terms of the campaign itself, working closely with WCRS and the creative idea of shooting a 60" ad in one go of a guy doing "effortless" stuff around his flat and using a real guy and a real band in the commercial, Manning Gottlieb OMD came up with a recruitment idea of using a branded MySpace page to run a competition challenging users to send in clips of themselves performing "effortlessly executed" tricks.

This was done by uploading UGC and it was a media first.  The recruitment campaign was promoted both on and off line across lads mags and MySpace itself and then with music press and music sites.  We also looked to drive word of mouth via the power of social networks and traffic from Brylcreem’s own site was directed to the MySpace as well.

The site was a huge success and attracted 1,781 friends, 200 video uploads, 1,208 song uploads and 80 comments.

Because the star and band had been recruited through the web, we wanted to give something back and keep them "in the story" so to speak, so the rest of the campaign was built around showcasing the ad in all the places the audience is - big key TV spots (England Rugby, Italian Grand Prix), key cinema films aimed at our audience (Run Fat Boy Run, American Gangster, Superbad) and online (Sky Sports take over, pre rolls 4OD and MSN, Facebook targeted video and Team Talk).

For the second part of the campaign, the TV ad was made interactive.

The whole theme running behind the ad campaign was ‘effortless’. We didn’t opt for bombarding the audience with ratings, rather we just wanted to quietly be in the coolest spots and places where our audience could be found and where they could pick up and play with the campaign.


Quantitative results are currently being analysed, but so far we’ve had some great PR coverage as a result of this campaign, including the TV ad being awarded ‘Pick of the Week’ in Campaign magazine and being voted Zoo’s unofficial favourite ad of the year for 2007.

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