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Clorox Reenacts Parents' Posts in Real-Time Improv Ick Awards

  |  April 15, 2014   |  Comments

Clorox is appealing to parents with a real-time improv video event inspired by social media posts about their kids' messes. Viewership numbers, however, remain somewhat low, indicating the brand might have missed an opportunity with user-generated content, one expert says.

Forget overshares. The Clorox Company, which calls itself an "expert in ick," celebrated parents' social media posts about the messes their children create in the Clorox Ick Awards, a real-time social media, improv comedy event for modern moms and dads.

To participate in the Ick Awards, Clorox asked Twitter users to share "funny stories from parenthood" with the hashtag #Ickies.

In turn, improvisers from comedy theater group The Second City reenacted these moments in a series of videos for award categories like #ShowdownMess and #EpicMess during four hours of so-called "Ick-Prov" on April 9.

The event was hosted by Saturday Night Live and Second City alumnus Rachel Dratch.

"The result will be a chronicle of messy mishaps told through personalized video content any parent can laugh at, and very likely relate to," Clorox said in a release prior to the event.

Over the course of the awards ceremony, the brand created 34 videos and interacted with 500 unique participants, says Rita Gorenberg, PR and social media manager at Clorox.

The Ick Awards also garnered more than 15,000 tweets and 130 million impressions, she adds.

According to Gorenberg, the Ick Awards were inspired by a program the brand launched last year called the Clorox Icktionary, a wiki-style dictionary that brings to life the new "language of mess." It includes words such as "spillates," or "stretching exercises that tone muscles and improve flexibility when you're wiping up spills under tables and on countertops"; and "petrifries," or "week-old french fries found stuck in the toddler's high chair."

"Social channels like Twitter have become this place for parents to share their messy, icky stories and they're not ashamed to share on social to commiserate or ask for advice," Gorenberg says. "This is where real parents go to share real-life stories. As a brand that champions the humor behind the mess, we looked beyond the mess and saw truly funny stories behind them and came up with the Ick Awards and turned them into real-time comedies."

Clorox pushed the program via its partners, bloggers, and influencers like parenting website How to Be a Dad. The brand also leveraged paid media on Twitter for promoted posts and reminded its own fans and followers to participate as well.

Clorox has 1.1 million Facebook likes and 79,000 followers.

"We were really inspired by consumers' actual real-life panicking moments and used them in real time to create these stories and see the humor behind the mess," Gorenberg says. "We knew this would resonate so well because we know they're going on social to share...it was taking an insight of the target and a natural behavior and going where they are to share great content versus trying to disrupt them and taking them somewhere else to take another action."

According to Krista Neher, chief executive (CEO) of social media marketing, training, and consulting provider Boot Camp Digital, Clorox did a great job of working with bloggers and influencers to help spread the word about the campaign and drive interest and traction on Twitter.

However, Neher notes YouTube viewership numbers are fairly low in the actual executions of the Ick Awards.

"I watched a handful and feel one of the things I found engaging in the Twitter feed was that people started sharing pictures of the messes their kids had made and the user-generated content was powerful and engaging," Neher says. "What's missing from the awards, to me, was it was kind of one big disconnect. It was a funny way to give awards, but you never saw the mess. If there was a picture from Instagram or something, it would have been much more meaningful and relatable."

Indeed, as of April 13, viewership numbers range from about five to 760, with most falling around 100 to 200 views.


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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