Wisk works up a sweat with brand repositioning effort

For much of its history, Wisk laundry detergent was positioned around the ability to fight visible stains - its Ring Around the Collar campaign ran for more than 30 years.

Sun Products' Wisk Deep Clean (Wilton, CT)

Cone Communications (Boston)


Work it, Wisk it


January 4-February 20

About $100,000  

For much of its history, Wisk laundry detergent was positioned around the ability to fight visible stains - its Ring Around the Collar campaign ran for more than 30 years.

The product was reformulated and repositioned in 2012 as Wisk Deep Clean, with messaging now focused on removing hidden body oils and sweat in clothes.

The brand and AOR, Cone Communications, launched Work it, Wisk it early this year to drive awareness, social media engagement, and sales. Fitness trainer Jackie Warner was hired as a Sweat Ambassador.

"Wisk is a small brand in a crowded category. The objective was to establish our unique brand identity," says marketing director Lora Van Velsor. "The laundry issue of hidden body oils and sweat is most relevant for activewear, so we focused on building brand advocates among consumers who work out. The timeframe was perfect as many people are focused on New Year's resolutions."

Sweat Ambassador Jackie Warner led a fitness class in New York for media members.

"The partnership with Jackie helped start a dialogue about sweat and hidden oils in clothes because it's not necessarily something people want to talk about," explains Cone SVP Mark Malinowski.

"Jackie is passionate about promoting healthy sweat - she helps consumers get sweat into their clothes and Wisk Deep Clean gets it out," Van Velsor adds. "She's also a genuine fan of the product and is very active on Facebook and Twitter."

Media and blogger relations, social media outreach, two sweepstakes, a workout event, product sampling, and ads drove consumer engagement.

A documentary style ad campaign called Inside Dirt was also launched on February 19.

Traditional media targets included national general consumer, lifestyle, and health outlets. Mom, lifestyle, and fitness bloggers were also pitched. Warner participated in media tours and desk-side meetings with top-tier outlets in New York on January 8 and 9.

She led a fitness class at New York Health & Racquet Club for select reporters and bloggers and five consumer winners of sweepstakes run by CafeMom. Warner also conducted a live-stream Q&A chat on Wisk's Facebook page on January 9.

A Work it, Wisk it tab was set up on January 4 on Wisk's Facebook page. It housed workout tips, product information, and another sweepstakes in which fans submitted photos of themselves in sweaty clothes for the chance to win a trip to Los Angeles for a personal workout with Warner. She also hosted a Twitter party on February 5.

Nearly 1 million product samples were given away in gyms during the campaign.

Van Velsor reports steady baseline sales growth for early 2013 and huge increases in Facebook engagement and reach. The agency says Facebook engagement was up 4.8% and total reach increased 342% from 631,977 to 2,163,148.

The campaign was pushed on both Warner's and Wisk's social media platforms. Impressions from the brand's Twitter and Facebook platforms hit 3.5 million combined. Nearly 5,400 new likes were garnered. The Q&A got 402 views (250 was the goal). The Work it, Wisk it tab got 10,581 views, more than double the goal.

The campaign generated 477 earned placements and more than 101 million impressions in outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and Shape.

The team is looking for new opportunities to use the Sweat Ambassador idea, driving awareness of the Inside Dirt campaign, and promoting a new single-dose product. 

PRWeek's View
This campaign did a good job initiating and driving consumer conversations, which is essential with brand positioning shifts. Forming a partnership with fitness trainer Jackie Warner provided a nice, natural segue into conversations that highlight the product's positioning and benefits. There was nice synergy between online- and offline-engagement tactics as Warner certainly helped drive engagement. Providing product samples in gyms and partnering with CafeMom were also smart moves as it helped the brand reach a wider audience.

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