As anyone who has passed a newsstand or turned on the TV knows, people aren’t shy when talking about sex. But Playtex found that they are timid when it comes to discussing sexual hygiene. At the same time, the company felt there was a market for wipes that both women and men, particularly those ages 25-44, could use to clean themselves just before and after sexual activity.
Rather than shying away from sexual innuendo, Playtex and its agency, Grey, embraced it to help garner maximum buzz for the February 2012 launch of its Fresh + Sexy wipes. Its ads across a range of media—print, radio, digital, out-of-home—reveled in double entendres. A photo of a swimming beaver, for instance, was accompanied by the headline “A clean beaver always gets more wood.”
The brand also selected as a celebrity endorser the self-described King of Partying, singer/songwriter/motivational speaker Andrew W.K. He not only headlined a party at SWSX featuring free samples and drinks, but he also persuaded some of the 3,800 guests to step into a booth to “confess” of past experiences where Fresh + Sexy wipes would have come in handy and recorded “man on the street” interviews that were posted online. He even collaborated with Playtex on “Sensuality Kits,” filled with items to appeal to the five senses, that were sent to 120 handpicked DJs, musicians, editors, and other cultural influencers.
From the risqué ads to the equally salty confessions, the campaign definitely got people talking. The 280 Twitter mentions from the SXSW party alone generated an estimated 3 million impressions, and the Sensuality Kits resulted in more than 1.4 million more. Total media impressions exceeded 750 million, more than twice the goal, with coverage from outlets as diverse as The New York Times and Buzzfeed.And in the month after the launch, Playtex’s overall product sales climbed by more than 300%.