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Downy Brings Out the #SoftSide of Life

  |  September 12, 2013   |  Comments

The campaign, which attempts to make softness relevant to users outside its existing fan base, uses social elements to determine future billboard content.

Life can be difficult, so fabric softener Downy is offering to soften some of the harder aspects in a campaign it calls #SoftSide.

The brand hopes the promotion will help consumers outside of its existing fan base see the value of softness. What's more, #SoftSide begins in social, but will extend to digital out of home billboards once the brand learns more about how each situation performs online.

downy-high-heel#SoftSide features handmade soft sculptures of everyday situations like high heels, political parties, and football rivalries along with the tagline, "Bring out the #SoftSide."

Or, as Downy Brand Manager Carolina Rogoll, puts it, "We have the ability to soften the harsh situations that we have in life."

Downy says it purposely timed the campaign's launch for the week after Labor Day because it's one of the hardest weeks of the year when consumers go back to reality and summer comes to an end.

"The idea is that by using handmade soft sculptures, hard situations are softened by our brand. Softness is Downy's equity, so we're inviting fans to bring out the #SoftSide in everyday life," Rogoll adds.

In addition to the initial soft sculptures, Downy is asking its fans what they would like to see softened. Suggestions as of September 11 include motherhood and towels.

What's more, Downy says digital out of home billboards in more than a dozen cities will be updated regularly based on the creative that proves most successful on the brand's social channels.

In other words, once the brand understands which sculptures are preferred by its audience, it will translate those particular posts to offline media, Rogoll says. These additional executions will take place within the same month of activation, she adds.

For example, a Downy rep says the high heel creative ran in digital billboards in New York September 5 to 8 and the political post began running in 16 markets on September 8 and will remain up throughout the week.

The brand is also working with so-called lifestyle influencers to co-create #SoftSide content.

According to Downy, influencers will help provide insight into what bringing out the #SoftSide means to them. They will provide their readers and followers a glimpse into how they transform tough moments into #SoftSide experiences and will promote their #SoftSide moments via blog posts, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, the brand says. For example, Downy is working with Jo-Lynne Shane of Musings of a Housewife, who is training for a half marathon. Her #SoftSide moment is the transition from the hard weeks of training to the two softer weeks pre-race, the brand says.

Some influencers will also be asked to come in to digital agency 360i and co-create #SoftSide content. The agency says it is also reaching out to influencers in "emerging spaces" such as Instagram and Vine.

That includes Meagan Cignoli, who 360i says is a Vine influencer. Cignoli will shoot content on September 24, providing the Downy Instagram account with videos as well as creating and tweeting Vines of two of Downy's towel creations, a rep says.

"One of the things we're trying to do is make a statement of how we can bring the Downy equity to life and softness to new consumers," Rogoll says. "Many know it's a fabric softener, but it's not relevant, so we're trying to make a statement about the value of softness to reach consumers not in our fan base."

Images of the soft sculptures are shared on the brand's social channels and across online paid media, including what Downy calls a "significant investment" in Facebook advertising, as well as display advertising on a number of women's sites.

Downy has 1.6 million likes and 49,000 followers.

The campaign is ongoing.

Downy is a Procter & Gamble brand.

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Lisa Lacy

In addition to ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, Lisa's work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.

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