Written by on . Pegasus.

‘Celebrate Play Everyday’ for Germolene: a case study

How do you take the OTC equivalent of a national treasure and make it relevant for a new generation of parents? That was our challenge for Germolene, writes Account Manager Danielle Lees.

Despite being a fond fixture in many first aid boxes of the last century, younger mums and dads were not reaching for Germolene as their go to first aid product. We set out to develop a campaign that put Germolene on their radar and built brand affinity.

We started by defining the kind of conversation that would be meaningful and relevant to parents of school age kids. Our campaign proposition needed to support both the literal benefits of Germolene as a first aid medicine and its heritage in safeguarding family health and wellbeing. So we started a conversation that would encourage parents of young children to reflect on their kids’ current behaviour and trigger a desire to embrace the great outdoors.

To inform our campaign we carried out a far-reaching and comprehensive survey across three generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Z – and compared their attitudes towards outdoor play, then and now. The survey revealed some stark generational trends that formed the basis of our news hook.

We found that young children today are spending significantly less time enjoying the benefits of the great outdoors compared to their parents’ generation. We discovered that only two in five (44%) of today’s generation have the opportunity to play outside after school every day. When you compare this to what the parents experienced – 80% of whom said they enjoyed the freedom and frolics of outdoor adventures when they were young – it was clear a little more encouragement could make a big difference to the time children spend in the fresh air.

We supported these findings with secondary research exploring the benefits of outdoor play to a child’s development and validated this with input from child psychologist Emma Kenny. Emma went on to co-write media features discussing current behaviours and offering practical advice to inspire parents to get their children outdoors. This was an important step that moved Germolene from just an antiseptic cream, to a brand with a mission to help children thrive.

And so we launched a campaign that would propel play back onto the radar of our target families and support greater access to play across the nation. Its name? Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday. Its purpose? To give parents greater access to ideas, networks and funding to support play outdoors and, in doing so, embrace playing outdoors more without fearing the natural scrapes, cuts and bruises that can occasionally arise as a result.

The focal point was a nationwide competition to win one of two £5,000 Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday grants for outdoor play facilities at a nominated primary school. The competition asked parents to describe the benefits of outdoor play for childhood development and then put forward their chosen school. The competition ran during the school holidays, when parents would be thinking about ways their children could – and should – play outside.

We sought out and negotiated a host of relevant and targeted partnerships to bring this competition to life, including a high-value, low-cost collaboration with parenting forum Mumsnet, and a partnership with Primary Times to reach teachers, and mums and dads of primary school-aged children.

We also know how persuasive online influencers are to these parents. And so we invited selected parenting bloggers to take part in a ‘Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday’ challenge. Parents were asked to exchange a notable amount of their children’s technology time for outdoor playtime – at least 30 minutes across seven days. During their week of increased outdoor play, the bloggers shared their experiences in two blog posts recording the benefits and any challenges. We then ran promotions to encourage the influencer’s community of fans to take the same challenge and share their own experiences of spending more time outdoors. The memories and experiences posted by these communities were extremely powerful and all added to the impact of our Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday campaign. 

Finally to increase awareness further and get more communities involved, we collaborated with charity The WildNetwork, whose aim is to connect children with nature by providing opportunities for outdoor play. With them, we developed an expert-authored online resource for parents and teachers, providing advice on breaking down the barriers that prevent outdoor play and communicating the positive benefits for children.

The Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday campaign was a great success, not just in the breadth of reach but the depth and quality of results. In a highly cost-effective way, we delivered an integrated campaign that reached the heart of parenting communities.

Highlights of the campaign include:

  • 100% of our media coverage was on message for the brand and positioned it as a supporter and promoter of outdoor play. In addition, 73% of coverage linked back to the product and its associated uses.
  • The competition inspired nearly 5,000 entries with more than 3,500 individual schools being nominated for the grant. The winning schools received their grant at the start of November and photocalls have taken place to celebrate and announce the prize to the local community and media.
  • 74% of parents who took part  in the competition on Mumsnet said they have taken positive steps towards encouraging outdoor play as a result of this campaign, of which 45% said they have spent more time together as a family outdoor
  • 22% said as a result of the campaign they would tell a friend or family member about Germolene
  • 91% said they would be more likely to use Germolene in the future or purchase it again.

We’re proud to say that Celebrate Outdoor Play Everyday is shortlisted for two awards at the 2018 OTC Marketing Awards. Fingers crossed on the 8th March!

We’ll leave the last word to Bernadett Khan-Gonda, Brand Manager for Germolene. “This campaign centred on the importance of outdoor play – a consumer truth that was underpinned by our research. The disparity between the time parents spent outdoors as children and the time today’s kids spend playing outside was shocking. This feeling was reflected in the level of engagement from parents across the country who have shown a commitment to redressing that balance. By positioning Germolene as an enabler brand, we’ve created a relevant place for it among the current generation of parents. I am delighted by the results we have achieved and look forward to developing future activities that build on this work.”