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Why Gillette redefined Father’s Day

Hill+Knowlton Strategies created a moving and unconventional Father’s Day campaign for Gillette, which won Most Effective Use of Content at The Drum Awards for PR in 2020. Read about the inspiration behind this campaign and the strategy used to execute it effectively.

The challenge

Gillette wanted to put itself at the heart of conversation around Father’s Day, a key calendar event for male grooming producits. With the help of Hill+Knowlton, it planned to reach a broad target audience, including men and boys of all ages around the United Kingdom,

Following ‘We Believe’ advert that launched in America earlier in the year, the campaign needed to enable Gillette to build on the conversation they had started around modern day masculinity and further articulate the brand purpose – ‘supporting men to look, feel and act their best’. It was important that to position the concept in a positive light and ensure the message was relevant for UK audiences.

Since Father’s Day is an extremely cluttered calendar moment, with multiple brands competing for attention, finding uncharted territory was key to standing out.

The strategy

Gilette worked with H+K’s inhouse Data + Analytics team, evaluating the conversation on social media around Father’s Day over the last few years to find key themes and pinpoint potential areas could own. One insight was that those without fathers (whether through loss or lack of relationship) can find Father’s Day particularly hard. And as part of this conversation, many people shared that there are other people who occupy the position of a paternal role model in their lives. That's why the team decided to focus on the ‘unconventional’ role model.

Our idea was to create a series of Father’s Day films to tell the stories of men who grew up without fathers at home. The films would celebrate the ‘untraditional’ role models in each of their lives who had encouraged them to be the best they can be, ending with a call to action that this Father’s Day, Gillette is thanking all the role models that have made a positive difference in men’s lives.

The campaign

Given Gillette’s broad target audience, the message needed to resonate not only with younger audiences, but also older men, who research suggested had responded more negatively towards the US campaign. With this in mind, the team identified talent who had a relevant, engaging and authentic story to share about their untraditional male role models: Ian Wright, Professor Green and Joshua Coombes.

They then worked with a trusted director to build creative treatments that seamlessly wove in Gillette brand messaging and integrated the product in an authentic way, which is an important requirement for all P&G brands. Creating a range of different video assets meant the campaign would live across owned, earned and shared channels, including the talent’s personal social media.

The content was pitched to media, and then amplified with talent interviews in key target publications. H+K worked with Gillette’s media agency to ensure the campaign was fully integrated and got maximum exposure.

The results

The campaign drove net sentiment of +22%, a positive shift from the 2018 benchmark average. Importantly, based on the social commentary the brand received following the US campaign, this campaign drove a +25% positive shift in sentiment in the UK.

In total, the content received 506,000 video views with 22,500 engagements (with an average engagement rate of 4.45%). It secured 104 pieces of coverage, including talent interviews with Ian Wright with key media outlets including the Independent, Metro, Press Association and TalkSport.

The content and campaign was also shared internally at P&G as best in class work, with positive reaction from senior stakeholders including the global head of shave care who commented on the “beautiful work from the UK team to mark Father’s Day, which touches me as a son, a father (and as a keen Arsenal fan)”.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for PR in 2020. To find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open for entry, click here.