The Vim shine

Where it's landed

Where it’s landed

New Zealand, South Africa (Poland and Finland soon to come)

Client: Unilever Canada

Stephen Kouri, VP brand development, home and personal care

Gary Wade, brand manager

Agency: Zig, Toronto

Elspeth Lynn and Lorraine Tao, co-CDs

Aaron Starkman, ACD (copywriter)

Stephen Leps, ACD (art director)

The Vim story

It’s a little bit of the chicken or the egg: Did the unexpected gold win at Cannes last year help generate the international attention? Or is the double-digit sales growth for an innocuous cream cleanser to thank for all the globetrotting Vim’s ‘Prison Visitor’ spot has been doing lately?

They go hand-in-hand, figure Aaron Starkman and Stephen Leps, Zig’s ACDs and part of the team that created the much-lauded work. With ads in this category pretty much formulaic, says Starkman, ‘this ad is really standing out and [that's] another reason it’s going global.’

But all the attention really started, says Stephen Kouri, Unilever’s VP, brand development, home and personal care, at a meeting of Vim’s

global brand team shortly before the launch of the ad last year. Reps from the different continents saw the spot, and at the end, curious as it seems, applauded. ‘The starting point was the ad,’ he reveals. ‘They knew right away. They loved it.’ A month after its launch in Canada, the spot ran

in South Africa.

Starkman predicts this will be the story of many more Canadian ads. ‘It’s going to happen more and more often because since we are such a multicultural country with so many languages, we have to be visual and we have to talk to a lot of different people. A Canadian ad is a global ad.’

Zig is now in the midst of using a similar strategy to market the roster of Vim products which include floor cleaner, thick bleach and spray. Kouri says new campaigns should start sometime in early fall. And Leps thinks they also have the potential to go around the world.

‘[The question is] how do we take this learning and apply it internationally?’ he says. ‘For us, we don’t want to stop with having a couple of countries pick us up. In a way, this is sort of Canadians speaking up. We have to pound our chest a bit and get people to realize that we do strong international work.’ Very un-Canadian indeed.