How Wilkinson Sword cut through with Evening Standard collaboration

By Awards Analyst | The Drum Awards

Evening Standard


The Drum Awards article

November 4, 2021 | 4 min read

Evening Standard won the ‘News, publishing or media’ category at The Drum Awards for Content 2021 with its campaign for Wilkinson Sword. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveals the secrets of this successful project...

The challenge

Wilkinson Sword knows there’s no room for close shaves when navigating a brand reposition. Moving away from a product-led sell, Wilkinson Sword wanted to communicate in a single master brand voice and appeal to a younger, more style-savvy audience. They needed a campaign that would deliver audience cut through in a new way.

The strategy

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that our daily routines are no longer set in stone, and brands need to flex as much as their customers’ lifestyles do. As Wilkinson Sword looked to establish a new masterbrand voice moving away from the product led approach of the past, we uncovered fresh insight to show that male grooming was shifting from an AM to a PM activity.

Results from our 2019 beauty standards survey showed that 2 out of 3 men are buying more grooming products than before (i195) with 3 out of 4 saying men are now expected to be more well-groomed than before (i146).

The evening economy is worth over £9bn and post work audiences are 80% more receptive to advertising, so a collaboration with the Evening Standard who hit the streets at 2pm each day was the perfect fit.

Reaching 20 million people every month, on their way home, while they shop online, or en route to a social occasion wanting to look their best, we were the ideal media partner to deliver the creative strategy of communicating in “the moment before the moment”.

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The campaign

In a seamless partnership together with Wavemaker, we owned the evening mediascape, newsjacking and aligning with key style trigger moments. We produced confident, unmissable brand content which created an emotional connection with our desired audience through real-time reaction to breaking news.

Everything from the US presidential debate (“It doesn’t get closer than this”), to Tottenham’s latest defeat (“Need help saving face, Jose?”) and updates on London’s first digital Fashion Week (“True style takes a stroke of genius”) was worked up into the campaign. Our clever contextual creative then ran, cross-platform, across the Evening Standard but also, for the first time ever, on digital out of home screens during the evening commute.

True collaboration was the key to making this ambitious campaign work. A crack team from the content desks as Wavemaker, Evening Standard and MullenLowe worked to a daily timeline: identifying relevant news at 8.30 with editorial, selecting stories and working up creative by 10.00, delivering copy, printing and on the streets by 14.00 – and they say digital is fast! Digital creative followed during the afternoon and by the time our 18-44 year old men were on their evening commute the digital screens were reinforcing the message they had already seen in print and online.

The results

A study of current views of the brand showed a key metric for success in this partnership was to make Wilkinson Sword feel relevant to the audience to increase purchase intent and shift perceptions from a conservative brand for older men to being younger, stylish and creative.

Our study shows that this metric was met and audience perception shifted:

  • 74% felt that the contextual nature of the campaign made them think more favourably about the brand.

Of those that saw the campaign:

  • 64% uplift - the brand is bringing fresh ideas to shaving;
  • 33% uplift - positive impression of the brand;
  • 15% uplift - the brand will help sharpen your style;
  • 9 in 10 took an action.

Campaign performance:

  • Total page impressions – 13,567,510;
  • Campaign CTR – 0.33%.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Content 2021. Click here to find out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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