Calgon aims to ‘stop being your mother’s brand’

Mist tents introduce new scent

The well-known tagline, ‘Calgon take me away,’ lives on, as does the implication that the body mist brand offers escape and relaxation. But Montreal-based parent company Coty Canada is apparently ready to go a step further, in the hope that the brand will convey, ‘Calgon take me away to a fun and exciting place.’

A summer promotion, featuring Calgon-branded mist tents at nine different water parks in Ontario and Quebec, is meant to simultaneously introduce a new scent, called Tropical Dream, and ‘create fun and excitement around the brand,’ says brand manager Elaine Monaco, who adds that Calgon is the most popular body mist in the mass market. ‘The Calgon consumer describes herself as casual, natural and fun-loving. Water parks seemed like the perfect place to find our demographic.’

That’s particularly true since Calgon wants to skew younger, to 18- to 25-year-olds, in an effort to ‘stop being your mother’s brand,’ points out Max Lenderman, CD at Gearwerx, the Montreal youth marketing company behind the event.

He says the program was as ‘simple, approachable and understandable’ as possible, so as not to overload consumers in a typically promo-free venue. ‘There was a lot of awareness on Calgon, and we knew that not a lot of people marketed at water parks, so we wanted to be the first to go there.’

It also made sense, he points out, because of Calgon’s long-standing association with water: its former ads depicted mom in the tub begging Calgon to save her from the phone’s incessant ringing.

On site, teams of reps wear baby pink short shorts and T-shirts (‘very Britney-esque,’ according to Lenderman), spray young women and hand them sample brochures, while they wait in line for rides or the mist tent itself.

Average attendance at the locations, which include Mont St. Saveur in St. Saveur, Que. and Ontario Place in Toronto, has so far averaged between 2,000 and 3,000 a day, says Lenderman, and reps were reporting about 1,000 people walking through the mist tent. ‘If you think about it, one out of three people were walking around smelling like Calgon [Tropical Dream],’ he says, adding that the initiative was extremely cost effective. ‘A per-consumer cost analysis would come out in the pennies.’

While Calgon has sampled product in the past, this marks the first time that the brand has participated in an event as such. Explains Monaco: ‘Sampling is key for a fragrance brand… If consumers like the scent, they’ll buy it.’

Smell does matter

When it comes to body mists, smell really does matter. And Calgon’s Tropical Dream aces the test, according to Pascale LeBlanc, who helms Toronto-based youth marketing consultancy Youthopia. LeBlanc polled five young women, aged 19 to 24, who deemed the new scent ‘light and summery.’

‘If it smells good, they will buy it,’ says LeBlanc. ‘It definitely resonates with the target group, because in summer, when it’s hot, they want to refresh themselves – and they love body mist.’

Unveiling the product in amusement parks is a smart tactic, she adds, because it brings the brand to the demo’s turf. Says LeBlanc: ‘You can create a more intimate relationship and get automatic feedback on the product.’

However, she suggests a stronger link between the promo and the creative used on sample brochures (left), may have been more effective.
For instance, she explains, the reps could have been dressed in classy beachwear, like sarongs and straw hats, and the hibiscus theme could have been extended to include hibiscus trees in the mist tents.

LeBlanc believes the ambiance could have been bolstered with refreshments too – like exotic juices and fruits – as well as Caribbean/Cuban music, supplied by a DJ. ‘It always depends on the client budget, but that is where partners come in,’ she says. ‘Complement the environment you’re in and they will remember you.’