Darlie draws on star power and genuine emotion | Marketing-Interactive

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Darlie Hong Kong has successfully redefined its brand image with an integrated campaign that resonates emotionally with the audience. By re-stating its functional proposition through an engagingly human story as told by Hong Kong’s top idol, Darlie has successfully evolved from a venerable but uninvolving brand to one that is relatable and inspiring to younger generations of consumers.

Ivy Hui, head of marketing (Oral Care) at Hawley & Hazel Hong Kong, said: “We wanted to build Darlie’s new Chinese name – 好來 – to reflect our brand belief that good things come with a smile. Instead of just resorting to overt celebrity endorsement of functional benefits, we decided to do something much harder – find that sweet spot where a celebrity’s personal story and our brand belief intersect to form an emotional-functional proposition that is ownable by Darlie and cannot be replicated by other brands.”

At the heart of the rebranding campaign is an insight that has often been overlooked in the category – a good oral care product doesn’t just give you fresh breath and healthy white teeth, but the psychologically liberating, empowering benefit of knowing that you’re always ready to show your best self to the world. In other words, it represents the confidence to connect with others through bright white smiles. This insight then came with the creative idea: Closer with Every Smile.

The campaign launched with a video featuring Keung To, the mega star with an everyman image that is in sync with Darlie’s brand personality. A mix of live action footage and animation was used to recount the young idol’s poignant coming-of-age story – how he grew from a plain, overweight boy with neither friends nor self-confidence to the star he is today by learning to always face challenges, and the world, with a smile.

Keung To’s story has almost universal relevance. There is hardly any young person who hasn’t, at one point or another, struggled with self-image or experienced self-doubt. In that sense, everyone had once been the child Keung To used to be.

And Darlie, by highlighting his story and asking us to keep smiling, has established itself as a truly empathetic brand that encourages us to accept the imperfections of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future.  

Key visuals from the video were then adapted into a full complement of out-of-home executions covering strategic locations around town, including an ultra-realistic, giant 3D Keung To billboard for maximum impact. At the same time, consumers were invited to share their photos of these OOH installations, which were then posted on Darlie’s social media pages as user-generated content to attract the attention of an even wider audience. And by making use of the latest Instagram Stories functions such as Add Yours and Ask Me, Darlie was able to further enrich the campaign’s social media assets.

An in-shop redemption programme was also created to offer customers collectible items featuring different versions of Keung To’s endearing, bright white smile. These items included mini cards, calendars, photo frames and more, and were made exclusively available through different channels including drugstores and eCommerce platforms as part of an online-to-offline strategy to drive product trial and repeat purchase.

The overwhelming response to the campaign was matched by critical success. At MARKETING-INTERACTIVE‘s Marketing Excellence Awards 2022, a gold in Excellence in Health & Beauty Marketing, a silver in Excellence in Retail Marketing and a bronze in Excellence in Advertising were added to creative Narrow Door’s trophy collection.

And by encouraging people to make genuine connections with others through confident, bright white smiles, Darlie has itself succeeded in connecting with a younger, wider audience. 

This article is sponsored by Darlie.   

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