Pears looks for Suave shoppers

Money's tight these days. Focusing on finding new ways to maximize the consumer dollar was on the mind of Toronto-based Unilever Canada when it introduced its newest line of value haircare products this summer (19 shampoos and conditioners priced lower than premium brands), called Pears By Suave.

Money’s tight these days. Focusing on finding new ways to maximize the consumer dollar was on the mind of Toronto-based Unilever Canada when it introduced its newest line of value haircare products this summer (19 shampoos and conditioners priced lower than premium brands), called Pears By Suave.

But Unilever wanted to build awareness along with consumer appeal, so in conjunction with Toronto’s Warwick Public Relations and Ogilvy & Mather, the Pears by Suave National Smart Shopper Contest was born. From July 27 to Aug. 23, customers were invited to visit www.pearsbysuave.ca to enter a contest to determine ‘Canada’s smartest shopper.’

Unilever reports the promotion tripled its expectations by the time it closed with over 35, 000 people registering. Also, the site experienced several million consumer impressions.

‘At the beginning, we thought this would be a little old contest, but it’s been phenomenal – it had such power, once it launched it just steam-rolled from day one,’ says Rob Candelino, Pears by Suave brand manager, Unilever Canada. ‘It was built on the right consumer insight – value for less.’

The Pears brand and the subsequent contest were aimed at the typical mid-30s mom with a couple of children, a dog (maybe two), who works full-time and has to balance the family budget.

‘These women are super-human and the brand wants to recognize that and celebrate it by being a part of the thrill of saving a bit of money,’ Candelino adds.

Now that the contest has ended, the real fun begins. On Sept. 22, four registered Pears shoppers will compete for what Candelino calls the ‘Super Bowl of shopping experiences,’ the ‘National Shop-off.’

Four regional winners – representing Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada – will meet in Toronto to compete in a final shop-off competition at Woodbine Centre mall. W Network’s The Shopping Bags hosts Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic will judge the final contest and Toronto’s EZ Rock 97 will broadcast a live-to-air as the competition unfolds.

The four super-shoppers are given a half-hour to outfit one member of an average family (either a mom or a dad or a sister or a brother) with a $300-$500 budget. The contestants are judged on speed and cost as well as the quality, durability and versatility of the clothing they purchase.

In addition, entrants could win a grand prize of 35 million Hbc Rewards bonus points from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Runner-up prizes include free air travel on WestJet and a Smart Shopper prize pack of Unilever household products. Entrants also qualify for a chance to win one of 50 prizes of a year’s supply of Pears by Suave shampoos and conditioners. In total, $35,000 worth of prizes was up for grabs.

Warwick designed promotional materials. O&M designed the print creative (which ran in Reader’s Digest) as well as the supporting 30-second television spot that ran on the W Network, which featured The Shopping Bags hosts inviting viewers to enter the contest.