This is a story of how an orchestrated celebrity PR scandal sold 3 million razors in just 4 weeks, and resuscitated Gillette's business in China.
The challenge was a decade of seemingly terminal category erosion: 7/10 men in China could no longer justify the inconvenience of wet shaving (preparation, shave, wash, care), driving 18.3 million switchers per year to more convenient dry shavers [Source: NCS 2012]. For Gillette this represented US$647.2 million in lost earnings between 06'-12', and no amount of innovation or promotion could stem the exodus.
Everything changed with 'Scandal Shave'. Inspired by the powerful insight that women in China find the act of men wet shaving extremely arousing to watch; an unbranded 'private' home video of national sweetheart GaoYuanyuan, scantily clad and intimately wet shaving with a man was 'leaked' to the media to compellingly deliver our message, generating a national scandal of enormous proportion. Capitalising on this with a full suite of branded activities, the campaign helped Gillette reach 237 million people, record its highest ever monthly sales, and inflict an ever bigger dent in the growth of the dry shaver category. Men were flabbergasted with the effect of wet shaving and felt compelled to try for themselves.
By reframing the benefits of wet shaving from inconvenient to sexy, and delivering this message in an unconventionally provocative manner via PR, 'Scandal Shave' finally helped wet shaving deliver value men can see.