CASE STUDY: How Unilever made inroads into the male grooming space in Malaysia

The Malaysian male grooming segment has been growing by 20 per cent year-on-year, but Unilever’s efforts to ride on this trend with its brands—including Axe, Vaseline, Rexona and Clear—had not been effective. When its tried-and-tested communications approach failed, Unilever, together with Microsoft and Catcha Digital, launched a branded content site exclusively for men.

Unilever needed a solution that would allow it to learn about the typical Malaysian man, while tailoring content and advertising messaging to suit them. It needed an original insight into Malaysian men around which an entire framework could be built.

With a focus on 18- to 34-year olds, Unilever looked to improve brand awareness and drive engagement for five of its brands aimed at males: Axe Enterprise, Axe Island, Rexona, Clear and Vaseline Men. Unilever’s goal was emphasise the core brand values of these products and to initiate purchase intent.

Unilever, together with Catcha Digital, Microsoft Advertising and Mindshare Malaysia, launched the MSN Locker Room—a first-of-a-kind branded ‘male hangout space’. It provides interesting, shareable content that is relevant to the target audience. Content ‘verticals’ were created using common interests: ‘Got Game’ for Axe, ‘Adrenaline’ for Rexona/Clear and ‘Style’ for Vaseline Men. The content in the locker room is sponsored by a single brand, which is given full exposure to the audience via prominent rich-media advertisements and through tailored editorial content. Exclusive men’s video content was also created to drive engagement across the MSN Locker Room, and ‘share’ and ‘like’ buttons were provided on all content pieces. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were used extensively to drive earned media for Unilever.

MSN Locker Room engaged with 800,000 Malaysian men in just eight months, surpassing unique user targets by 458 per cent. It reached more than 1 million Malaysian men by its 10th month of operation and continues to grow steadily. MSN Locker Room achieved 2.25 million pageviews, surpassing page view targets by 253 per cent. Time spent and bounce rate KPI’s for the site were surpassed. Bounce rate was 53 per cent versus a KPI of 55 per cent and time spent was 4:33 per user, versus a KPI of four minutes. It saw more than 1,200 likes and 1,500 shares across the MSN Locker Room content. This was seven times higher than leading Malaysian male online magazine portals. Customised research showed double-digit growth in brand consideration, awareness and attribute recall across all brands (Axe, Rexona Men, Vaseline Men, Clear Men). The success of campaign has led Unilever Malaysia to re-sign with MSN Malaysia for a further 12 months in 2013.

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