Rhandell Rubio
Sep 16, 2011

CASE STUDY: How Vanish Napisan integrated PR and creativity to bid for the White House

How do you stand out from all the same detergent brand campaigns? Reckitt Benckiser's Vanish Napisan broke away from its tried and tested strategy of campaigns past and showcased the integration of PR and creativity in powering an effective campaign for the launch of its new Oxi Action Crystal White product range.

wide player in 16:9 format. Used on article page for Campaign.

"The campaign is a shining example of integrating public relations to power creative campaigns," explains James Wright, general manager of Red Agency, the PR firm that carried out the campaign.

"It shows the opportunity of bringing the two disciplines of PR and creativity to deliver outstanding results for clients. Most of what we see in campaigns is digital integration while PR is often missed. This campaign makes a push for that PR integration message and shows its effectiveness." 


Trusted by generations of Australians, Vanish NapiSan has been known for its effective fabric stain removal abilities on clothing. With the launch of its new Oxi Action Crystal White range, it wanted to send the key message of 'keeping white clothes white'.

In previous campaigns, Vanish NapiSan stuck to its tried and tested way of marketing its cleaning and detergent products in what is a low-interest category. However, this time around, the brand set a challenge of undertaking a bold campaign that took this message to a broader audience, in addition to its core buyers of mums in the 30 to 50 year old age bracket. In addition, the brand delved into social media for the first time.


The goal was to send the message across in a whole new different way in order to stand out from other campaigns of detergent products. This was new campaign territory for the brand and success would be measured in awareness and engagement levels, as opposed to sales. Four focus groups, in addition to voxpops on the streets, were used to research reaction around the creative and also to ensure the core audience would not be alienated. 

The agency set KPIs of delivering over 50 media items, reaching more than 500,000 people in Australia through media coverage, reaching over 200,000 people through Twitter, registering 10,000 visits to its Facebook site and over 120 entrants for its end-campaign 'Sponsor a White House' competition back in Australia.



"Whiter whites is a message that has been around for decades and consumers are overly familiar with the traditional methods of delivering this message, especially on traditional mediums, from ‘the doorstep challenge’ to ‘side by side’ demonstrations," explained Steve Coll ECD of Euro RSCG Sydney. "Our challenge was to deliver a traditional message in a new and non-traditional way".

Thus, the agency, in collaboration with its public relations arm Red Agency, set out to launch an audacious campaign of sponsoring the White House in the US for A$25 million, complete with billboard signs of the brand placed on top of the landmark, using the debt crisis as a 'hook' for generating PR interest. 

Letters were sent to US members of Congress, a Facebook site was created, and a pitch video to US President Barack Obama that a spokesperson was being sent to the US to negotiate the deal was released on YouTube and picked up by other media.


The campaign then documented the journey of spokesperson Adam Whittaker in Washington DC, speaking to members of Congress, in his quest to get politicians and influencers on board with the campaign. It also enlisted the services of DC lobbying firm Grayling to support the campaign, helping set up meetings with politicians and influencers. Content from the documentation was then shown on the Facebook site and various media to power the campaign and garner support back in Australia.

Following the expected decline of its offer from the White House, the  campaign was moved back to Australia to search for an Australian ‘white house’ at the end of the campaign. The 'Sponsor a white house' competition involved offering A$25,000 for a White House in Australia, running a competition via Facebook to find the best 'white house' to sponsor.

"This could be a house, a family called whitehouse, in fact anything that involved the words or was related to white house - we had people that would tattoo white house to their faces, and changing their names to Whitehouse, among others," said Wright. 


"We were able to match the KPIs that we set out for the clients," points out Wright. 198 media items were achieved, while audience reach for Australia and the US was 6.5 million and 504 million people respectively. The campaign reached an audience of over 600,000 people on Twitter, while on it received over 23,000 visits on its Facebook page with 190,000 impressions for the content published to the news feed of its fans.

For the end-campaign competition 'Sponsor a White House' back in Australia, over 250 entries were received.

"I firmly believe, from my involvement in projects like the Walkers Sandwich’ campaign, that big newsworthy ideas cannot be produced by creative teams working in isolation. So the most overused word in our agency right now is collaboration," explained Coll.

"I have a full service PR agency sitting ten yards from the creative department. So, when a creative team tells me a big idea like Sponsor the White House, we can be in a room with the PR and digital experts in ten minutes, figuring out how to make it happen. I’ve worked in some great agencies, but I’ve never been in a position where that can happen so quickly. It’s a genuinely exciting way to work," Coll added.


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