Bronze: Best Use of Social/Viral Marketing in a Campaign 2015

  • Campaign: 2014 Season of the #Whiff
  • Brand: Head & Shoulders
  • Agency: Team Epic

Head & Shoulders shampoo was long viewed by its target audience of men 18 to 45 years old as a medicinal dandruff solution. To persuade consumers that shampooing with Head & Shoulders was more of a pleasure than a chore, the brand highlighted its Old Spice-scented variety while associating itself with something much more enjoyable than dandruff: baseball.

Working with agency Team Epic and Major League Baseball (MLB), Head & Shoulders expanded upon the previous year’s baseball tie-in. In 2013, the brand donated $10,000 each month to one MLB club’s local Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities team; in 2014, seven teams divvied up $40,000 each month. By reallocating dollars, Team Epic and Head & Shoulders were able to boost the donations without increasing the latter’s spend.

The money was awarded to the MLB teams that generated the most fan tweets with the #Whiff hashtag followed by a club’s Twitter handle. Via their own social media, the teams encouraged fans to tweet every time a pitcher recorded a strikeout, aka a whiff. Fans could check their team’s ranking on the #Whiff page of, which featured Head & Shoulders branding and links.

The brand also created an All-Star Game sweepstakes: Fans who tweeted #Whiff during the game could enter to win an all-expenses-paid trip to game four of the World Series, complete with a private tour of the stadium, memorabilia, and the opportunity to throw a ceremonial first pitch. The sweepstakes alone generated nearly 20,000 new followers for the Head & Shoulders Twitter account within a five-day period.

Even more impressive was the four-hour MLB Twitter and website lockdown. During this time frame, only #Whiff messaging was displayed, resulting in more than 5.6 million impressions.

By the end of the baseball season, the campaign had generated more than 4.5 billion impressions, with an average of 41 #Whiff tweets for each MLB strikeout. Research found that 51% of the men surveyed were aware of the campaign, and 64% of them associated #Whiff with Head & Shoulders.