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Thriving Creative Partnerships: How Persil and MullenLowe pivoted to celebrate staying home amidst the Coronavirus crisis

Creativebrief

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Dirt is Good is one of the most iconic marketing positioning of the past decade. The strapline, which is the work of Adrian Holmes at Mullen Lowe in the nineties, alongside the Unilever Persil team, shifted the category from a molecular arms race for cleaning products that made clothes whiter than white to a brand positioning based on being a force for good. 

No brand could be prepared for the Coronavirus crisis but for a global brand such as Persil, a brand messaging which celebrated children playing outside was at odds with the reality of a global pandemic that required across the globe families and individuals stay inside. In just 10 days they successfully pivoted to a new message across the globe: “For years we encouraged you to get dirty outdoors. For now we thank you for playing indoors."

Find out more in Nicola Kemp's interview with Persil's Tati Lindenberg and MullenLowe's Will Dixon below.

Receive updates about this interview and the ongoing series here



Speakers

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Tati Lindenberg

VP, Marketing - Dirt For Good, Persil
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Will Dixon

Global Business Leader, MullenLowe

Tati Lindenberg is Vice President of Marketing for Unilever largest Home Care business – Dirt For Good, a federation of brands and a coalition of projects which aim at delivering uncompromised top cleaning performance to meet people's laundry needs, while powering them up to act on the issues they care the most.

Will Dixon has over 25 years’ experience in the advertising business (20 of which at the MullenLowe Group) and has spent the last 17 travelling the world running multiple global brands and businesses. 

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5 key takeaways from the interview:

1. Stay relevant & contextual

We know brands need to remain visible during a downturn, however it’s important to stay relevant and contextual - ask yourself what is the brand point of view and how can you be present and meaningful during this time? Whilst there is a need to adapt and be empathetic to the crisis, it is also important to stay authentic and true to the brand values and heritage. 

2. Global vs local 

Whilst a global point of view is needed to safeguard brand positioning, there is also a degree of flexibility needed to allow local markets to adapt and execute according to their region.

3. Agile ways of working

When pivoting in a crisis, speed and agility are crucial. Setting up a core group of key decision makers from both sides will help with decision-making, approvals and the execution will be rolled out much faster. This way of working allowed Persil and MullenLowe to turn around the campaign in a record 10 days across 18 markets.

4. Not every decision needs to happen on Zoom! 

Whilst we’re all working from home, Zoom has become the default means of communication. However there are other options which should be considered and may prove much more effective. Persil and MullenLowe launched their whole campaign via WhatsApp, which allowed for speed and succinct, concise feedback. All without a single Zoom call.

5. Working as one team 

Moments of crisis can bring us together. When brands and agencies come together as one team, working towards one shared vision, from a relationship founded on trust, it allows even the most iconic of campaigns the ability to pivot in a crisis.


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