Unilever's Suave flips the switch on influencers

Dive Brief:

  • Unilever threw a team of beauty influencers for a loop in the latest campaign for its Suave hair care brand, according to Ad Age.
  • Influencers were given around two weeks to test out a "new," trendily-packaged hair product called Evaus, which was received positively. At the end of the trial, it's revealed that Evaus — which is just Suave spelled backwards — is actually the brand's regular mass market line. 
  • "We found seven of 10 women think higher-priced brands are more trustworthy," Jen Bremner, Unilever's marketing director at Suave, told AdAge. "We wanted to peel back the labels and convert the skeptics." The effort was handled by Vice's Carrot digital agency, which started working with Suave last year.

Dive Insight:

Unilever clearly has its finger on the pulse of trendy marketing techniques in leveraging beauty influencers. The going industry wisdom at the moment is that younger demographics tend to put a lot of trust in messaging coming directly from social influencers, perhaps more so than they do with traditional advertisements. Overall, the effort is an example of Unilever understanding its target audience and crafting a campaign most likely to resonate with those consumers.

Unilever is in a period of reconfiguring its marketing operations and might be considering shaking up some legacy products like Suave as well. CFO Graeme Pitkethly recently said the CPG giant plans to cut ads produced by 30% and agency relationships by half.  

Unilever spends more than $7 billion globally on advertising.

The effort also goes to show how far sleeker packaging and brand name affect image and consumer perception. While 80-year-old Suave proved its quality is on a par with newer brands, it might be rethinking its presentation given how well the modern-looking Evaus was received despite being made with "stock packaging."   

Unilever's internal research also found that 90% of millennial women would be willing to buy lower-priced hair care products if there wasn't a sacrifice in quality, Ad Age said.

Filed Under: Social Media Trends Corporate News
Top image credit: Unilever