CategoryA05. Media Relations

The Campaign

Spring time in Japan offers wonderful clothes drying days, but it also brings an excess of airborne pollen and unpredictable weather, making outdoor drying difficult and undesirable due to pollen seeping into fabric. Pollen-related allergies have become so prevalent in Japan that estimates of pollen dispersal are provided every day as part of weather forecasts. Yet indoor drying in inadequately ventilated areas can often mean clothes smell of mildew rather than freshness. In simple terms, the Japanese consumer wants to dry laundry indoors more often for convenience and to avoid pollen allergies and but doesn’t like the smell. The solution? Ariel Living Dry Gel Ball – a washing detergent that improves the smell of indoor drying. However, how could we help the consumer know when to use the product and engage with our brand? In an industry first, working with the Japan Weather Association we developed the ‘Indoor Drying Index’, a daily report of outdoor drying conditions for laundry. Featured in TV network weather forecasts and accessible online, the Index recommended indoor drying on days when airborne pollen counts were high or rain was expected. The credibility of the association with a national weather association and its alignment with the key product benefits resulted in significant media coverage, behavioral change and market share penetration.

The Brief

‘Ariel Living-Dry Gel Ball’ offers a high level of cleaning and deodorizing ability and allows stress-free indoor drying with a pleasant odour. Our goal was to ensure that the consumer fully understood the benefits of indoor drying as a modern laundry method along with the key product benefit. More than this we wanted to ensure that the consumer actually knew what days were the best time to use the product. We wanted the consumer to identify with the brand as being helpful to them in their daily housekeeping tasks.


This creative PR-strategy successfully conveyed a complex message supported by the credibility of a partnership with a national weather association, educating the consumer on indoor drying and aligning the product directly with its benefits. Introduced by weather forecasters on national TV weather reports, the Indoor Drying Index became a valuable reference for recommended indoor drying days with high amounts of pollen dispersal. Media coverage by no less than six television programs was supported by coverage in 44 newspapers, five magazine articles and 277 web media views. More importantly the campaign saw a 75% increase in indoor drying during the pollen season and gel ball products breaking into the laundry detergent market with a 10% share, with Ariel Gel Ball leading the way.


A press conference held to announce the ‘Indoor Drying Index’ also launched the new Ariel Living-Dry Gel Ball. Leading up to the launch, physicians specializing in allergies measured the high levels of pollen adhering to laundry during outdoor drying and a consumer awareness study showed a preference for indoor drying during the pollen season. The press conference informed media and influencers why indoor drying is an effective measure against pollen and that Ariel Living-Dry Gel Ball can eliminate the unpleasant odor from indoor drying. Representatives of the JWA Indoor Drying Index joined product brand executives and two key influencers, a physician and a laundry advisor, to talk about pollen countermeasures and how the index and the product could help. Their content was also distributed to media following the launch to achieve broader mass media education and coverage.

The Situation

A P&G survey showed 70% of Japanese consumers prefer outdoor drying but revealed indoor drying increases during Springtime wit h half the population concerned about pollen seeping into fabric. Pollen-related allergies are considered a national affliction in Japan with incidence rising 10% in 10 years. So why weren’t more people drying indoors? The major issue was the unpleasant odor from drying clothes in less ventilated places. A gel ball detergent from P&G, ‘Ariel Living-Dry Gel Ball’, was developed specifically for indoor drying, preventing that unpleasant still-damp odor.

The Strategy

Target consumers are busy every minute of the day, always looking for efficient ways to get their home care duties finished within the shortest time with minimum effort. Laundry is one of their most onerous tasks. Although receptive to products to improve their lifestyle, they are unlikely to engage and purchase unless the product benefit is clear, straightforward and direct. Our PR-led strategy was as unique as it was effective. We launched the Ariel Living-Dry Gel Ball ‘Indoor Drying Index’ in collaboration with the Japan Weather Association (JWA), providing guidance on when conditions were more suitable for outdoor or indoor drying. Based on weather, pollen and PM2 air conditions, the index provided a simple five-stage guide: 1. Indoor drying is conclusively better. 2. Indoor drying is better. 3. Indoor drying can be done without concern. 4. Outdoor drying is also acceptable. 5. Outdoor drying is better.


Name Company Position
Mayuko Sugawara BlueCurrent Japan Account Manager
Akemi Sugiura BlueCurrent Japan Account Executive
Kei Ogata BlueCurrent Japan Account Executive