Corporate Brand Promotion
Sensodyne (manufactured and distributed by GSK) is the market leader in treating the pain of sensitive teeth. Since its launch in 1961, Sensodyne have moved from being a niche medical brand to a bigger business,
treating over 6m people each year in the UK alone. Specialist oral care treatments are a growth market, due in part to the increasing maturity of the category, the aging population and the modern healthy (yet acidic) diet. Innovations in this space include treatments like whitening and enamel strengthening, but Sensodyne works by treating the exposed dentine that occurs naturally and removes pain. Its premium price tag is justified by the premium scientific investment required to make a genuine product claim, but is up against mainstream players like Unilever, Colgate and P&G, who more
than compensate for their potential lack of scientific rigour and product capability with their expansive marketing budgets. With budgets dwarfed by their competitors’ investments, differentiation for Sensodyne would be difficult.
Unpaid and unscripted dentist testimonials had been a key feature of Sensodyne’s communications approach, however this tactic was under threat as competitors began adopting this style (to the point where consumers
have produced parody videos making fun of white coats). For Sensodyne to grow in an increasingly competitive space, it needed to appeal to new users of the category whilst still resonating with the existing base. It needed to bring its product strengths to the fore, and most importantly, it needed to differentiate its brand and communications by claiming scientific leadership before anyone else.
In a nutshell, they needed to bridge the gap between what people saw from Sensodyne and what Sensodyne actually did.
Sensodyne communicated dental endorsement and little else – but the emerging audience wanted more. Our research showed a clear gap between the brand’s present behaviour and what the consumer wanted, highlighting an opportunity for communications to reinforce Sensodyne’s leadership stance and claim a new territory.
Whilst dentist endorsement provided authenticity, they also made the brand feel clinical and inaccessible. We recognised that by leveraging a burgeoning consumer interest in science and health, combined with the desire to understand the facts behind products we use on our bodies, Sensodyne could bring a completely fresh, differentiated and accessible approach to oral care
communications and our brand.
Sensodyne have strong science credentials in abundance – historically, the key reason they secured dentist support. We now needed to find a way to bring those science credentials to the fore, make them compelling for consumers and allow both consumers and dentists to recognise Sensodyne as the scientific leader in oral care.
Our core idea was to create content around the central idea “Future Now”. This would be factual, scientific, authentic content that would allow us to reach a new audience and talk to them about Sensodyne in a more compelling way. It would also reinforce Sensodyne’s science credentials, increase appeal and allow consumers to get closer to the brand’s true purpose by fundamentally
changing their communications approach.
We selected an independent content partner (Discovery Networks) with strong science credentials to tell the story in a factual but entertaining way, ensuring our audience would feel both inspired and informed. They would be
empowered with sound facts and truly understand Sensodyne’s strengths within the context of the scientific breakthroughs shaping our everyday lives.
Future Now creates a powerful narrative. We created a series of five short video episodes, each tackling a different element of their ground-breaking science – each episode moved from establishing a broad scientific theme before honing in on the Sensodyne-specific work and research that makes it such a powerful, relevant product today. This structure allowed us to hero some great GSK stories; for example the same ingredients that are used to help
amputees are also used in their toothpaste; they have a partnership with Maclaren to optimise their manufacturing to precision; they have a particle collider and one of the world’s most powerful electro-microscopes – all delivered by their unsung heroes, their world-class research scientists.
In all, we produced 15 minutes of content; Discovery had never before created such a long series of commercial content. We challenged the usual approach of “drip feeding” content to keep people coming back to site, and
instead adopted a successful Netflix-style approach which allowed consumers to “binge watch” all videos.
The final product is a fully integrated, multi media campaign, carefully seeded and supported with traffic-driving activities to ensure the content was amplified to the right audiences across six markets. We optimised activity on the-go, replacing the dentist-led pre-rolls deployed on other content sites to reflect the Future Now approach which resulted in a second viewing spike; while the rich media units continue to deliver strong results.
What was originally conceived as a small test across six markets is now rolling out across a further 40-50 markets, with the original six exploring ways to extend the campaign. Additionally, one of the markets is now using the video
content as paid advertising collateral on broadcast TV.
Together with GSK, we have now created a templated process to develop and distribute global content while mitigating digital risk – a key priority for a pharmaceutically led company – while allowing for local variation (ingredients
and regulations). Securing the global lifetime rights also allows for further exploration, development and deployment of the content.
It’s a huge success, completely changing the category dynamic and strengthening Sensodyne’s position and brand equity. It’s fundamentally changed how GSK approach content distribution, with marketing acting as an internal beacon for change and what can be achieved.
Business impact: +10% increase in propensity to buy
Brand impact: Agreement of “It’s a brand that uses science to develop products for the future” increased 26%
56% agreed that the videos made them feel more favourable towards Sensodyne
In just three months, it racked up over 7000 hours of viewing time (more than every episode of The Simpsons 39 times!) and is in Discovery’s TOP 15 viewed videos globally.
Engagement: Average dwell time of over 5 minutes (37% viewing to the end – normally 20%)
1. Future Now content has had a powerful impact on brand metrics
• Brand metrics have increased above norms for CPG online video (source: Nielsen). Norms for video are +8%. Future Now has seen
increases from a range of +19% – +55%
• FN has had the most impact on metrics related to content (e.g. “Innovative brand”; “A brand that uses science to develop products for
the future”) from +42% to +55%
• FN has also driven brand heart statements (e.g. “ Scientifically proven to work) +19%
• FN has increased Purchase Intent by +37%
2. Future Now has amplified TV impact by a multiplier effect of 1.4x. This means that markets who ran both TV ads and content get better
results for their investment.
• For all brand metrics FN + TV has a 1.4x impact
• For specific science and innovation statements, FN offers better positioning than TV alone
• Multiplier effect can be applied to TV ROI’s to give a holistic TV + content ROI figure
3. Discovery and Sensodyne are seen as natural partners
• 57% believe that Discovery and Sensodyne are good partners
• 52% believe more collaboration between Discovery and Sensodyne should happen in the future