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Marketer: Unilever

Agency: Ogilvy RedCard, Singapore

Unilever creates Dove Academy to spread the word about moisturizing brand shampoo by shampoo.

[Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam] In an innovative introduction of Dove moisturizing shampoo to Vietnam, Unilever created a Dove Academy initiative to instruct shampoo girls about the product's benefits, hoping they will pass the message along to clients. Although Asia is a growing market for Dove, its success around the region has varied because the shampoo was launched with a single formula. Chinese consumers liked it, but Vietnamese women, although they like moisturizing shampoos for long locks dried out by the tropical heat and windy moped journeys, found Dove too heavy.

Late last year, Unilever responded by launching a Dove shampoo range with various moisturizing options. Then the marketer enlisted local hair-care professionals to reintroduce Dove to middle-class Vietnamese women, who frequently get their hair washed in inexpensive salons. More than 200 women in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were invited to free one-day training seminars featuring guest speakers, presentations and product demonstrations. At the end of the day, each "student" received a certificate, sample products and a Dove branded CD called Hair Talk, featuring Western and local pop music, to play in salons.

"We trained them to use and recommend the Dove range while teaching them techniques, such as how to recognize whether customers need more or less moisturizing. The aim was to encourage people to try the shampoo and this was an interesting way to get information about the new product into the market," said Peter Cheung, project director of WPP Group's Ogilvy RedCard team in Singapore, which developed the Dove Academy initiative. There are no plans to introduce a Dove Academy in other countries.

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