Client: Lever Brothers
Campaign: Launch of Surf with Sun
PR Team: Freud Communications
Timescale: Jan - Apr 2000
To launch its new laundry detergent, Surf with Sun Fresh, Lever Brothers
and its consumer PR agency Freud Communications decided to join forces
with the Rylstone Women’s Institute (WI) from Yorkshire.
Last year, Rylstone WI raised thousands of pounds, and a few smiles,
with a calendar in aid of the charity Leukaemia Research Fund. Posing as
pin-ups, its members were photographed carrying out a variety of
traditional WI activities - such as cake-baking and flower arranging -
Based on this campaign the PR team decided that these women possessed a
down-to-earth and hard-working image, combined with an ’if we can do it,
why can’t you?’ attitude that was ideal for reaching potential customers
of Surf with Sun Fresh.
To gain awareness of the launch of Surf with Sun Fresh among a target
audience of 25- to 45-year-old mothers, and create interest in the new
variant of the Surf brand.
Strategy and Plan
In January, Freud approached Rylstone Women’s Institute asking its
members to appear in a two-week billboard campaign to promote Lever
Brothers’ new product.
The WI agreed, feeling that the Surf brand fitted its image of ordinary
women making the most of their opportunities. However, its members were
also keen to raise more money for the Leukaemia Research Fund.
Lever Brothers agreed to use the charity’s logo in its posters and
donate the Rylstone women’s fee to the cause.
To raise awareness of the launch, Freud sent out a press release and
visuals to the media a week before the posters were due to appear.
On 26 and 27 March, all ten of the Rylstone WI members attended a host
of interviews with the press and broadcasters, to talk about their
involvement with Surf and their commitment to the Leukaemia Research
On 1 April, the residents of London, Manchester and Glasgow woke up to
find the women of Rylstone promoting new Surf with Sun Fresh and
Leukaemia Research Fund on high-profile 96-sheet billboard sites,
The poses aped the 1990s anti-fur campaign fronted by supermodels
proclaiming they would rather go naked than wear fur. The WI version
carried the strapline: ’We’d rather go naked than go without Sun
Measurement and Evaluation
As PR Week went to press, the results of this campaign were still
rolling in, so formal evaluation has yet to take place. However, the
media loved the return of Yorkshire’s favourite calendar girls and
coverage of the posters was splashed across many of the national daily
newspapers, including the Times, the Daily Mail and the Express, plus
more than 15 regional newspapers.
The campaign has also gained extensive broadcast coverage from the likes
of Radio 2, ITV’s live daytime show, Loose Women, and national and
regional BBC and ITV new bulletins.
This campaign provided Lever Brothers with a winning product launch
featuring bare flesh and a worthwhile cause, which Freud Communications
delivered in a package that made consumers and the media smile.
’It is true that this is an unconventional approach to promoting the
launch of a detergent product. However, being fun and different is what
the Surf brand is all about,’ says Patrick Kaltois, brand manager for
Surf with Sun Fresh.
The profile of the Rylstone Women’s Institute has been further boosted
with news that Disney has bought the rights to their story and is
planning to make a film about their exploits.