Campaign Trail is our analysis of some of the best new creative efforts from the marketing world. View past columns in the archives here.
The first weeks and months of parenthood are a study in contrasts: heart-filling euphoria and nerve-rattling anxiety; days full of stroller walks and taking pictures and nights unsettled by feedings and changings. Frida Baby is a brand obsessed with the ups and downs — or perhaps ins and outs — of infancy, with products that seek to solve some of the messier problems faced by parents of young children.
For its first TV commercials, the brand embraced authenticity with the same colorful, no-nonsense approach of its product names: NoseFrida the SnotSucker and Windi the Gaspasser. On June 1, Frida Baby launched its "Real Reviews" campaign on Hulu and YouTube, with additional elements for Instagram Stories and Reels. The campaign revolves around two video spots narrated by comedian and mother-of-one Amy Schumer.
True to the campaign name, the spots dramatize real reviews drawn from the brand's more than 275,000 five-star reviews to illustrate the relief the products provide to both baby and parents — without shying away from the gross realities. Though stylized, the ads portray an authentic experience unique to but widespread among new parents, allowing Frida Baby to make its pitch by relating to consumers at their most desperate moments.
"All new parents share in that moment where you're completely terrified and don't know what to do next because your little baby is so upset, whether it's a stuffy nose, gas, whatever it is, it is inconsolable. At that point, you're ready to try just about anything, no matter how crazy it sounds," said Rachel Carlson, partner and executive creative director at creative agency World Famous, which created the campaign in partnership with Frida.
Frida Baby's products can sound crazy, whether it's the NoseFrida — a nasal aspirator that allows parents to suck the snot out of a child's nose — and the Windi — a natural solution for colic and constipation that releases both gas and poop. But the positive reviews proved to be the perfect scripts for video spots.
"This is prime and ripe to make some great content out of," Carlson said of the reviews. "Rather than us write down these words, we decided, well, let's just go and turn to parents that are actually experiencing it… and show the realness that's actually happening."
Real reviews, unreal style
Many brands have utilized user-generated content like reviews to drive marketing messages. But Frida Baby reviews are not necessarily coming from the same impulse as online reviews of other consumer products.
"When you're in that sleep-deprived state of having a newborn, the last thing you do is go to your computer and write a product review about something," Carlson explained. "To drive you to take that step out of your life, when you could be doing literally anything else, means that there was some state of emotion that you're like, 'I need the world to know this immediately.' That's a fascinating place to be."
To key into that state of emotion and recreate the heightened experience of similar memories, World Famous intentionally created a stripped down nursery that wasn't based in reality. Instead of creating different backgrounds or elements of real nursery spaces, the ads instead allow anyone who has had a similar experience to place themselves in their own liminal memory spaces.
"We just wanted those emotions to come through. The only thing that you're going to see are the things that are pertinent to the review itself," Carlson said.
That approach also drove the art direction of the spots, with lighting that is reflective of the mood: angry reds for gassy babies give way to soothing blues once the Frida product has done its job, all with a dreamy haze that seeks to invoke a sense of sleep deprivation.
To demonstrate the power of the products, both World Famous and Frida Baby wanted to go as far as possible, no matter how gross. The NoseFrida spot is full of neon green snot, while the Windi ad sees a relieved mom wipe poop across her forehead. For the latter, the agency had high-level buy-in from the brand.
"We spent a lot of time with props, trying to mix the exact right consistency and color so that it would actually mimic that weird, camo-pea green poop that a newborn had. If fact, [Frida CEO Chelsea Hirschhorn] was doing quality control on the color for it."
Rather than just an eye-catching gross-out factor, the decision to portray bodily functions was in line with the ad's embrace of real reviews and lived experiences. To add to the authenticity and the comic nature of the spots, World Famous tapped as narrator Amy Schumer, who had a preexisting relationship with Frida and brought her own experience and sense of humor to the spots.
"Everywhere that there was going to be any creative input in the spot was driven by people who are currently living it or have just recently lived it to make sure that that authenticity and the relatability comes through," Carlson said.