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Why Unilever’s Clear shampoo created a virtual football pundit for Indonesian men

Unilever’s shampoo brand Clear for Men has created a virtual pundit for Indonesian football fans.

While fans may not be allowed back into football stadiums due to coronavirus restrictions, Unilever’s shampoo brand Clear for Men has created a virtual pundit for Indonesian football fans, to help them engage with the game in a new way away from the stands.

Created for stressed supporters, Clear Headsmart is a virtual pundit created by Clear’s media agency Mindshare. It uses sports data company Stats Perform’s Opta Live Win Probability Model, is powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence and offers a real-time forecast of the outcome of a live football match.

For example, when significant match events such as goals or red cards occur, in addition to five additional variables such as the time remaining and historic performances over the last four years, the remainder of a game is simulated 100,000 times to forecast the outcome of the game in real-time.

“The idea for Clear Headsmart evolved through the strength of the strategic partnership between Clear, Mindshare and Goal rather than a traditional brief and response process,” RK Narayanan, head of team Unilever at Mindshare Indonesia explains to The Drum.

“The evolution of the campaign from idea to execution took place over 12 months with Opta also involved throughout. The original challenge we set ourselves was how could we use the power of data science to reduce the stress and anxiety of watching your favourite football team aligning with Clear’s brand purpose to help young men power up their resilience and be free to stress to perform at their best.”

Nando Kusmanto, senior brand manager at Clear Indonesia, notes while football is the a huge passion for men in Indonesia, it is important to engage with the brand’s male consumers in an innovative way, introducing its anti-dandruff products alongside relevant content based on fans’ actual needs.

“Clear Headsmart is built based on Clear’s purpose and value as well to inspire people with the value of resilience to cope with challenges and bounce forward after setback through football’s value,” he adds.

Clear Headsmart uses workflows that leverage AI to anticipate all the different directions a match can go in. It takes a lot of moving parts to then distill that information down to a simple outcome – a percentage change.

Steve Cliffe, vice president for Asia Pacific at Stats Perform explains that the product team had to build a combination of event-based triggers meant for visible external output, as well as some internal indicators used to monitor the forecaster’s own performance throughout the match. The pundit was under constant review during development to ensure it could aequately capture all the possible outcomes of a match.

”For example, the algorithm would generate a Live Win Probability update within seconds of a goal being scored. However, a notification would need to be built to identify when said Goal has gone to a VAR review and gets rescinded minutes later,” says Cliffe.

Andy Jackson, vice-president of strategy for Asia at Goal, claims the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive” and Clear Headsmart has taken its place natively in Goal’s social content offering each weekend no negative sentiment from fans – even though they may not like the forecasts.

“From a reach and engagement perspective, the campaign is massively over-delivering already, with our five-round reach target hit after just two rounds of games,” he adds.

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