Following the success of China’s very own version of Ugly Betty entitled “Ugly Wudi” (丑女无敌) which was created for the Dove brand and is pictured below. Unilever has devised yet another TV drama series to promote ‘Clear‘, the anti-dandruff shampoo brand.
The series is titled 无懈可击(Wú xiè kě jī) aka ‘Unbeatable‘, which is a play on words of Clear‘s tagline 无屑可击 (Wú xiè kě jī) which means ‘No flakes can strike‘. Notice the second character varies between the two but the pronunciation is identical.
The Unbeatable series will have 36 episodes which all include the underlying message that using Clear shampoo prevents dandruff. If you’re thinking this type of thing would never work, let me tell you, Dove’s demand in China increased by 21% and it’s brand awareness tripled thanks to the Ugly Wudi show.
Unbeatable follows the trials and tribulations of a group of young people (played by famous Chinese actors / actresses) and how with their “unbeatable” spirit, overcome challenges in career, relationships and life. The heroine is a fresh graduate who landed a job in an international public relations agency,whose key client is, would you believe, – Clear shampoo.
The whole story was developed around Clear’s four-phase brand communication strategy:
- Dump — 甩了欺骗者 (Shuǎi le qīpiàn zhě)
- Trust — 信任拍档 (Xìnrèn pāidàng)
- Self-breakthrough — 突破自我 (Túpò zìwǒ)
- Unbeatable — 无懈可击 (Wú xiè kě jī)
However, what is even more intriguing is the social media strategy which is being implemented to create buzz around the series. Firstly, they have created a branded mini-site within the TV section of Sohu.com (A Chinese website which provides news, media, information and entertainment) which can be viewed by clicking here.
Unilever has also produced a video of the series theme tune which can be downloaded and an online game is also soon to be released around the series, both of these additions, of course, include the Clear shampoo brand.
It often surprises me that these type of campaigns are so successful in China, but would never really work in the UK. The British audience have a distinct distaste for blatant promotions within or around their favourite TV shows. In the UK, brand’s have to be more subtle in their approach.
In fact, a great example of this oddly enough comes from Unilever. The firm recently created a branded mini-series around Mad Men, which aired during the show in the States, but it was met with abhorrence from the majority of the American audience. Although, some viewers have said that when fast-forwarding through the commercials they stopped at the one in question thinking that it was part of the actual show. So maybe it has worked, have a look below, what’s your opinion?