Procter & Gamble's Native ventures beyond 'crunchy granola' roots
Procter & Gamble Co. is launching its first broad awareness campaign for Native deodorant via new shop Curiosity, Cincinnati, a shift for a brand built originally on direct-to-consumer sales. With the move, Native is looking to capitalize on its growing retail footprint and expand beyond the “crunchy granola” confines of natural personal care.
The “No is Our Woah” campaign via programmatically bought and addressable digital video, connected TV and Spotify audio, aims to persuade people that a deodorant built around having no aluminum or parabens still works quite well.
P&G, like rivals Unilever with Schmidt’s Naturals and Colgate-Palmolive Co. with Tom’s of Maine, plays in both the natural and mainstream segments of deodorant. Now Native, which P&G acquired almost three years ago, wants to inch its appeal into the mainstream segment, given distribution in such big retailers Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Meijer.
“We’re now at that tipping point where we’ve got plenty of sales in both retail and d-to-c, so how do we grow awareness of this brand even more broadly and entice people to consider naturals for the first time?” says Grace Smith, retail marketing director of Native, a P&G alum who came back after working at Clorox Co. “I think this campaign is an introduction of Native to the world, and not only to just naturals consumers, by saying that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s not ‘Whoa!’ or an amazing efficacious product.”
“We wanted to flip the idea of ‘no’ on its head and make it positive,” says Katie Gerdes, Curiosity creative director, and part of an all-female team at the client, agency and behind the camera on the campaign. “What better way to show that than with bold, graphic visuals instead of this soft, earthy, granola-ey route?”
While the brand is moving into TV and Spotify, it’s using programmatic buys and addressable ads via the Trade Desk, “trying to understand how consumers are beginning this consumer journey and tracking them all the way through,” says Peyton Sutton, Curiosity client service director.
Native’s relationship with Curiosity took a circuitous and seemingly improbable path. P&G Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has pushed in recent years for proximity of agencies and brands. But while Curiosity is in P&G’s Cincinnati hometown, Native’s marketing team is actually in San Francisco, where the brand was born.
Native founder and CEO Moiz Ali hired Curiosity last year and participated with the shop on a deep dive into the brand’s equity and positioning. Then he left the company in January, after hiring Smith.
“His last day was my first,” Smith says. But while Native did re-pitch the business, “Curiosity’s name came up with our team and externally as well,” she says, “And it became clear they were the right partner post pitch.”
Of course, amid the pandemic norm of doing business by video-call, physical proximity ended up meaning less anyway. But those video calls did point out to people something that wasn’t originally by design, Smith says, that the team working on the campaign was all female.