Product / ServiceFUSION PROGLIDE
CategoryA03. Best Use of Live Events and/or Celebrity Endorsement
EntrantBBDO CHINA Shanghai, CHINA
Entrant Company BBDO CHINA Shanghai, CHINA
Advertising Agency BBDO CHINA Shanghai, CHINA


Name Company Position
Fanfan Li @pr Consulting Account Executive
Hua Fan @pr Consulting Media Director
Helen Jin @pr Consulting Account Executive
Emma Zhu @pr Consulting Account Executive
Dylan Yang @pr Consulting Account Executive
Stella Ren @pr Consulting Senior Account Executive
Staney Zhao @pr Consulting Account Manager
Wendy Wang @pr Consulting Account Director
Jef Ji @pr Consulting Account Director/Epr Director
Tao Dong Bbdo China Strategic Planner
Uming Tong Bbdo China Associate Planner
Elsa Gu Bbdo China Account Manager
Airy Han Bbdo China Creative Group Head
Kevin Jin Bbdo China Associate Creative Director
Fiona Su Bbdo China Account Director
Amber Lin Bbdo China Creative Director
Mei Jeng Phang Bbdo China Business Director
Jason King Bbdo China Group Planning Director
Kit Koh Bbdo China Executive Creative Director

The Campaign

‘Shave Sexy’ centers on a live social experiment that underpinned a bold shift to Gillette’s communications strategy in China. The challenge was major category erosion: men in China could no longer see past the inconvenience of wet shaving (preparation, shave, wash), driving 18.3 million men every year to switch to more convenient dry shavers (electric). For Gillette this represented US$647.2 million in lost earnings between 06’-12’, and it was clear that wet shaving’s benefit needed an overhaul. Simply put, we needed to give men a better reason to wet shave. Everything changed when Gillette launched ‘Shave Sexy’. Having unearthed the insight that women in China find wet shaving extremely arousing to watch, an ‘unbranded’ live social experiment was created to demonstrate how wet shaving could arouse female interest. Featuring a pair of identical twin brothers, we invited 40 women to vote whom they found to be more attractive; concluding that men became more desirable just by being seen wet shaving. Then, enlisting the help of target-relevant Japanese idol Sora Aoi to release the video on her social media platforms, supported with strategically crafted editorial and opinion leader endorsements from FHM, ‘Shave Sexy’ reached 197 million people, reversed the growth of the dry shaver category for the first time in 4 years, and helped Gillette record its highest ever launch month sales. By radically reframing the benefits of wet shaving from inconvenient to sexy, ‘Shave Sexy’ heralded a new era of communications for Gillette, one that delivered value men can see.

The Brief

Our challenge was clear: how could we overcome wet shaving’s inherent inconvenience, converting the nation’s dry shavers to write a new chapter of growth for the Gillette brand? We had 3 aggressive objectives: 1. Surpass success of previous best-in-class launch of Gillette Fusion, in reach and participation 2. Stunt year-on-year growth of the dry shaving category 3. Accelerate total brand growth beyond past 3-year high of 3% over campaign month Achieving these with just 10% of the average monthly media spend of the dry shaving category [Source: Nielsen 2012]. A multi-city qualitative research was devised to identify our opportunity.


Despite no change in price-points competitive activity, 'Shave Sexy’ achieved all three objectives: Gillette’s most successful campaign to date ‘Shave Sexy’ reached 197 million people; a 198.5% increase on the launch of Fusion. Furthermore, ‘Shave Sexy’ drove 200,000 interactions, triple that of Fusion and exceeding Nike’s hugely successful ‘Greatness’ Olympics campaign in 2012 [P&G]. Reversed growth of dry shaving category for the first time since 2009 ‘Shave Sexy’ reversed the monthly sales of the dry shavers by -21% [P&G]. Against the dry shaving category’s 3 year compound growth rate, this translated to a category decline of -34% or a shortfall of 200,000 dry shaver units; equivalent to an entire month’s sales of Philips. Helped Gillette achieve its highest ever sales growth ‘Shave Sexy’ tripled the value growth of Gillette in December (10.2% vs. Nov 2012). This represents the highest launch sales month in the history of Gillette’s business in China.


‘SHAVE SEXY’ EXPERIMENT Working with psychologists, FHM and a pair of identical twin brothers, we created an experiment to prove how women found men sexier when they wet shaved. We got the twins to shave side-by-side; one with wet, one with dry; inviting 40 women to vote who was sexier. SORA AOI Rather than Gillette’s staple of athlete endorsers, we appointed ex-Japanese AV idol Sora Aoi. Posting the clip on her social platform(s), it became a meme overnight. Then, leveraging on FHM; editorial and dialogue-seeding drove men to engage with ‘Shave Sexy’, even reference it in their conversations. ‘Un-planned’ celebrities got involved with photos of themselves wet shaving, amplifying ‘Shave Sexy’ more. Within days, ‘Shave Sexy’ was featured across news portals and magazines. At the height of activity, a series of ‘branded’ initiatives- TV & radio spots, celebrity endorsements and events- were released to drive dry shaver conversion for Gillette.

The Situation

For men in China, wet shaving (razors) was an utterly inconvenient chore. Dissatisfied, men flocked to dry shavers (electric) in droves: whereas in 2006 50% of men wet shaved, by 2012 only 30% continued to do so [NCS 2011]. That’s 18.3 million switchers every year. For Gillette, leader in wet shaving (84% value share in November 2012), this was a crisis amounting to US$647.2 million in lost earnings between 06’-12’. Despite extensive efforts, campaign reach declined, launches became less effective, and growth slowed to single digits- most worrying considering China’s importance as a market. Wet shaving’s benefit needed radical re-thinking.

The Strategy

We uncovered a secret about wet shaving: Chinese women find it an extremely sexy act to watch. ‘Wet shaving makes any man sexy’ they said, demonstrating courage and focus, which made her feel ‘beautiful’ and ‘taken care of’. Wet shaving wasn’t inconvenient, it was…SEXY. THE BIG IDEA: ‘SHAVE SEXY’ A PR-led and integrated campaign that made wet shaving sexy in China, achieved through: 1) Strategic partnerships- to enhance acceptance, the campaign was largely unbranded, deployed through strategic partnerships with target-relevant celebrities and publications (FHM). Only at the height of engagement did Gillette ‘join in’ to own the conversation. 2) Unconventional PR- traditional media played second fiddle behind a PR stunt, unconventional choice of celebrity, events and social media. 3) Overhaul of marketing language- reframing shaving from (a) self-experience to the experience for watching women, (b) stubble removal to an act of courting, and (c) from clean & comfort to sexy.