Famous skincare brand Neutrogena successfully transforms into a viral TikTok sensation with its innovative and hilarious "Hydro House" campaign.
The social marketing-first TikTok campaign debuted mid-January, with seven influencers competing against each other to snag the coveted lightweight and dermatologist-recommended Hydro Boost Cleanser.
The witty campaign, amassing 62 million views on #hydrohouse, extends over seven episodes with the Hydro Boost Cleanser characterized as the "bombshell contestant" in the competitive and cutthroat stage that is the skin care industry.
@neutrogena_us It’s the long-awaited reunion! ❤️ Who ended up with #Neutrogena#HydroBoost#GelCleanser? We got the cast back together to find out! #HydroHouse♬ original sound - Neutrogena
Marketing Done Right
While Movers+Shakers undoubtedly stayed true to its titular disruptive campaign style, its bold initiative of formulating an organically rich marketing scheme led by fresh insights is how marketing should aim to be.
By going against the established flow of merely posting skincare routine videos and quick beauty tips, Movers+Shakers effectively gave the spotlight to Neutrogena, making it shine brighter while simultaneously pushing its competitors into the background.
Movers+Shakers Associate Strategy Director Megan Herren explained that the unfolding of the marketing campaign “just came together very naturally without looking too much like a copycat of something that already exists."
@neutrogena_us Who will find true love? Find out this season on #HydroHouse. Follow for full episodes. #Neutrogena#HydroBoost#GelCleanser♬ original sound - Neutrogena
Capturing the Essence of TikTok
Herren also pointed out that advertisers tend to forget the very nature of TikTok as a channel for entertainment and escapism.
"TikTok was born to be an entertainment platform — not sales, not shopping, none of that. Consumers are using it to escape — they don’t want brands taking away from that escapism,” she stated.
This is why merely posting a video that screams advertisement will not fly with Zillenials, the 20–40-year-old marketing segment comprising 72% of TikTok's audience.
Herren added that TikTok is a marketing channel that is “looking for brands who are going to take a risk."
Solving the Pain Points of Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Cleanser
When Neutrogena returned to Movers+Shakers for another grand slam of a campaign, the creative agency quickly assessed the product itself and the underlying problem.
Herren remarks that the Hydro Boost is an "amazing cleanser" but that "no one knows about it because their competitors stole the spotlight, on TikTok specifically, a few years ago."
With the dilemma of competitors having a head start on TikTok in mind, Movers+Shakers focused on “how can Neutrogena steal the spotlight with their Hydro Boost Cleanser, and in a way that impacts sales as well."
They noticed that skincare influencers at TikTok are currently posting their parodies and skits of popular reality TV shows focusing on romance. The agency quickly drafted the idea of rooting the Hydro Home campaign in the high-impact and deeply-relevant message of not settling for less by picking a product (or person) that you truly "love."
Polishing and Refining the Hydro Home Campaign
With their core strategy set, Movers+Shakers delved into the specifics of the campaign and quickly hashed out the structure of the parody series.
They first decided to parody multiple shows, as using only a single series would limit the campaign's reach to fans of just one show.
"We wanted to incorporate key elements from several different types of shows," Herren explained. "If we hint at very recognizable elements from different types of shows, we’re going to reach several audiences."
This culminated in Hydro House adapting popular elements of dating shows such as The Bachelor's tagline and Love Island's famous villa. It also references iconic scenes and characters using the recognizable cinematography of reality TV shows.
Movers+Shakers added that an innovative campaign does not mean straying away from the advertiser's voice. It is still important to retain the product's branding, but companies must be ready to stretch the boundaries of creativity.