Cetaphil’s successful launch with strong recommendations

February 3, 2017


Malin Ljung

The challenge of creating a foundation for a successful launch together with many ideas and a tight budget is often a difficult nut to crack. Maria Hedström, Nordic Brand Manager at Galderma, talks about the launch of the skincare brand Cetaphil in Sweden and how the use of storytelling and a well thought through recommendation strategy really made the launch successful.

Cetaphil is one of the world’s largest skincare brands and is available in 68 countries. The products are made based on clinical documentation and are also recommended by dermatologists, which makes a strong combination for a pharmaceutical company, says Maria.

Challenges with the launch in Sweden

When the sales pitch for Sweden, it wasn’t as well received as expected. The team behind the launch had to re-think to adapt the launch plan for Sweden. Maria discovered YouTube videos – 20,000 consumers in different clips talking about Cetaphil and how they use it, created by themselves out of their own interest.

– You often search for information online before making a purchase, to see if anyone else have used the product and shared their experience. Therefore, it felt very strong for us with such a recommendation.

A thought through recommendation strategy started the launch

Famous people gave the idea to the new pay off

Maria also found interviews with world famous stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston to name a few, who use Cetaphil in their daily skincare routine. From this, an idea started to take form – to communicate the products as “the gentle beauty secret of the stars”. The Hollywood story was summarised in a presentation for the pharmacies that led to them being listed at all pharmacy chains in Sweden. They had come out with something completely new.

YouTube stories by Smartson

The solution and the need to launch the brand’s story in a credible way led to a recommendation strategy. The main objective was to increase the awareness on the Swedish market and in order to achieve the objectives social influencers and celebrities in Sweden were hired to spread the word about the product.

– The challenge was that no one in Sweden knew about Cetaphil and our budget was limited.

Smartson was enlisted to take the recommendation strategy further together with its co-creators. In total, 7,231 curious consumers applied to try the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser on Smartson’s website. 500 people were selected and had the opportunity to try the product providing they were willing to film the test.

– We needed to get the information out about the product in a cost effective manner and were keen to get stories from Swedish consumers. In discussions with Smartson, we concluded that the test pilots would be asked to create video testimonials while putting the facial cleanser to the test. Videos which we would then use and re-package to raise awareness of the product in a credible way.

In total there were around 110 videos that were created during the four week campaign period. These videos were circulated during and after the campaign, and they were also used at events for the pharmacies and through Cetaphil’s social channels. The videos got 600,000 impressions and with targeted Facebook advertising they were directed to the relevant target groups.

– We reached a lot of people and also got good use of the material that was created. We wanted to make something of all the videos which Smartson helped us with – together we edited some of the videos into concept movies. These gave great power in our dialogue with the pharmacies and through our social channels.

110 user-generated videos and 600,000 impressions

At the end of the campaign Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser received a nice recommendation of 80 percent.

– In addition to all the videos we received and the crowdscore we can put on the packaging, we also got a campaign report in the form of a video. I have had great use of that video when I have shared it with our global managers to show what you can do with the recommendations and how you can circulate information about a new product on a market.

How did the launch go?

It’s now a year ago since the campaign ended and we are now in 2017. How has the launch gone?

– The launch has been, and still is, a great success. Cetaphil is the fastest growing skincare range in pharmacies and have after a year about a 2 percent market share (Nielsen). This exceeds all expectations as competition is extremely high in the skincare range. Moreover, we have also been digitally successful and in collaboration with Apotea, there have been several occasions where Cetaphil is the best-selling brand and have been on the top selling list, particularly in facial skincare where we constantly are among the best selling in pharmacies.

Furthermore, Maria tells us how the launch is a success internally.

– We were nominated internally for best consumer marketing. This is mainly because we have made the best global launch of Cetaphil here in Sweden and we exceeded our budget targets by more than 50%.