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Sep 22, 2000
Case Study

How Oil of Olay Gets Thousands of Women to Request New Product Samples Online

SUMMARY: No summary available.

When Procter & Gamble’s Oil of Olay launched a new anti-aging moisturizer Total Effects, this Summer, they knew it would be tough to get attention. Brand Manager Tim Simonds explains, “it’s a very crowded marketplace.” The solution was to create a campaign targeted to Olay’s demographic of “working women.”


Created by Saachi & Saatchi, Total Effects launch campaign was designed to drive women to the web to request a free product sample. Simonds says, “There’s a correlation between working women and being online. So we decided we wanted to play in this arena. Just as the skincare market is crowded, banners are crowded too. So we needed to break through the clutter, and give them a reason to come to the site -- which is sampling.”

Olay used two main online tactics to drive traffic to its online sampling program: by creating sponsorship partnerships with major women’s sites such as iVillage,, 3rd Age and Oxygen; and by offering site visitors their choice of four virtual Total Effects postcards to email to their friends.

Olay also supported the campaign with TV ads and substantial offline print advertising in traditional women’s beauty magazines such as Vogue, Glamour and Allure. Simonds says, “We definitely mentioned more than just the site name. You have to give them a reason for going. I’ve never tested by itself. We all feel you need a real reason to log on.” The mailing package the sample arrived in also featured an offer for an additional sample, only available at the Web site. None of the campaigns offered an alternate method of response such as a phone number. Simonds says, “we considered an 800 number, but it’s very costly.” Simonds also felt the Web was “more relevant” for his target audience.

In addition, Olay supported eretail sales at sites such as by offering them a link from the site as well as a special Total Effects splash page they could incorporate into their site. Simonds says, “Think about it as a consumer. You’ve just read about a product; you’re highly interested in buying it; and, you want to make your purchase as soon as you can!” In fact Olay has an entire team to supporting these online sales, “just as we have a team dedicated to main [offline] customers.”


Timond’s cited Olay’s joint sweepstakes promotion with iVillage offering a trip to Florida as one of the most successful partnerships. Interestingly the virtual postcards pulled about as much traffic as all the partnerships did. Many women sent postcards to multiple friends. Friends also forwarded them to other friends. Timonds can’t reveal exact campaign results, but he says, “we’re extremely pleased the traffic we have and we’re continuing to drive traffic to our Web site.”
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