CategoryA01. Fast Moving Consumer Goods


Name Company Position
Ali Rez Impact BBDO / BBDO Pakistan Regional Executive Creative Director
Hira Mohibullah BBDO Pakistan Executive Creative Director
Fatima Ansari BBDO Pakistan Copywriter
Daniah Ishtiaq BBDO Pakistan Strategic Planning Director
Faryal Ali BBDO Pakistan Associate Creative Director
Haroon Rashid BBDO Pakistan Head of Design
Qasim Ahmed BBDO Pakistan Art Director
Farooq Qazi BBDO Pakistan General Manager
Saira Ansari BBDO Pakistan Senior Account Manager
Butool Rizvi Unilever Pakistan Marketing Manager - Home Care
Neha Salhjee Unilever Pakistan Assistant Brand Manager
Raza Ayoub BBDO Pakistan Assistant Manager HC media
Moiz Khan Impact BBDO Editor
Bijoy Purayil Impact BBDO Art Director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Surf Excel needed an idea that would go beyond regular detergent communication: something that would become topical and trending, and take over national conversation through the very PR generated out of a stunt.


Surf Excel was suffering: two years of constant negative decline had meant that the closest competitor had wiped out the market share gap by a worrying 50%. A major cause of this was the decreasing faith in consumer's mind of the brand's ability to work on tougher stains. In order to turn this around, Surf Excel reformulated their product with a new ingredient. But our job was much tougher: to reverse the negative perception of the brand's efficacy. The brief objectives were to create a campaign that would: 1. Improve sales trends for Surf Excel 2. Step up turnover growth for Surf Excel 3. Increase Market value share vs. Key competitor in the campaign period 4. Improve Brand Power scores 5. Hold or Increase Penetration

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

Detergent commercials tend to all look the same with the similar kind of demo. Which is why we opted to do something bigger than a commercial: we decided to take over broadcast and online screens that commercials play on by "staining" them. All across mass media, large ugly dried stains started appearing on the screen within the programming itself, with the cast of the programme playing along in surprise at the stain, breaking character or even disrupting news. After a while, the stain was wiped out by a mini tornado of Surf Excel's special formulation.

Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)

The campaign insight was simple. Laundry is the most mundane and yet often the most stressful chore for home makers. Stressful because no two stains are equal, and hence sometimes can consume a lot of time and energy, and still end in dissonance. However, few stains cause more distress than dried-in stains. Dried-in stains are stains you forgot to wash immediately, or that missed your eye for a few days, or that kept waiting for laundry day and became impossible in the process. In order to get consumers to reappraise Surf Excel, we needed to address a pain point as pertinent as this one and pick a dimension of stains universally accepted as ‘extremely tough to remove’. Incidentally also a completely vacant need segment. Hence the insight: Nothing is more painful than removing a dried-in stain from clothes.

Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)

Across 14 leading broadcast channels and popular social media touchpoints, Pakistanis watching everything from entertainment to news, found a smattering of dried stains obscuring their screens. From mud to paint to even ketchup. Bewildered, people took to social media (after attempting to wipe their screens) trying to figure out why these stains were popping up on screens everywhere and more importantly, who put them there. We revealed our new formulation in the form of a tornado wiping out the stubborn stain which even the help in the studio failed at. The hashtag #WhatTheDaagh (What The Stain) became the top trending topic of the day on Twitter and Instagram, with people posting pictures of the different stains caught on camera.

List the results (30% of vote)

The Stained Screen became the No.2 trending topic on Twitter, taking over national conversation. The stunt helped the brand's fortunes turn completely around: Surf Excel is now experiencing growth for the first time in 8 quarters, ending a two-year trend of negative decline. This turnover growth U-turned from negative to positive within a month after the stunt. The market share gap vs competitor has jumped to its highest ever. Brand penetration has improved by 40+ bps for the first time, setting a new benchmark for the industry. The stunt drove the highest volume for the brand in nine months. With this simple hijack, we reached over 35 million people on TV, and garnered over 42 million impressions online. Organic spread resulted in more than 10,000 comments on Twitter alone.