Girls: PHD: Thermasilk



With its recent repositioning from a brand targeted at women over 35 to girls on average 20 years younger, Thermasilk needed its media shop PHD to create big brand awareness among teen girls for the Unilever hair care brand. To do that, the campaign, which ran last fall, not only went where the girls were, but talked to them about the important things in their worlds. The primordial? ‘The biggest thing was men,’ says Suresh Krishnan, strategy account manager on the campaign matter-of-factly. ‘It was just basic common sense.’ So with boys as the draw, PHD tied in some of the other things they were interested in to make teen girls squeal.


Under $200,000

Target Consumer

* Girls 15 to 20 English Canada

* Girls 12 to 24 for the TV buy

Consumer insight/characteristics

Research revealed that besides boys, the target was interested in other things: ‘We wanted to [tie in] chatting, music and hot men,’ he says. ‘A bunch of things that excited these girls.’ And because the target are early adopters, the campaign was mainly virtual.

Media touch points

* Online: a viral campaign, Habbo Hotel, banner ads and a microsite

* TV: 15-second spots on MusicMusic


‘We used TV to get some quick awareness,’ says Krishnan, in the form of 15-second spots on MuchMusic with ‘hot guys’ taking off their shirts and saying ‘dress me,’ ‘style me,’ and all driving to the microsite.

Online, PHD inked a deal with Habbo Hotel, the online hangout, and renamed the cinema lounge as ‘Thermasilk: Hit on my Hot Guy.’ Some of the offerings on Habbo included a scavenger hunt contest that first directed users to the microsite where they had to create their ideal hot guy. The best 10 were posted and users were asked to vote on their favourite. Prizes were offered

as incentives.

Media partners also got into the mix. AOL decided to create a Hot Guy face-off that had its visitors vote on which celebrity was their favourite. There was a link to the Thermasilk microsite on the AOL site. Also, banner ads on sites such as muchmusic, nexopia, etc. were part of the media mix.

The entire campaign ran for only two weeks, while AOL’s push lasted four.


* The campaign recorded over 9.8 million impressions and had a 108,965 click-through rate

* The micro site attracted over 174,000 unique visitors and

the average length of stay was

40 minutes

* AOL ‘Face-Off’ delivered over four million impressions and facilitated an impressive traffic count to the microsite


PHD Canada

Michael Bolt, VP,

Unilever account group

Suresh Krishnan,

strategy account manager


Sandra Davies, category director

Jillian McLaughlin, brand manager

THINKING DIFFERENTLY – Suresh Krishnan, strategy account manager, PHD

‘I was in banking,’ says Suresh Krishnan, PHD’s strategy account manager of his life before advertising, ‘but I wanted to create something, I wanted to think outside of the box all the time.’ It took him four years before making the move to Mediaedge:cia in south India, where he was born.

After some time there, it was on to the office in the Middle East, and finally Canada, where he made another curious move: ‘When I came to Canada, I didn’t want to get into media planning from day one. I asked Mediaedge to give me a role in the research department where I could understand the consumer through PMB, BBM,’ he says. ‘The most important thing for a media planner is to know the consumer like the back of his hand,’ he adds, having now amassed 10 years in the business.

From Mediaedge, it was on to PHD, where he is approaching his one-year anniversary. And his stint in research is already proving to be worthwhile. He attributes much of the success of the Thermasilk campaign to the time he spent understanding various research models. ‘I had to think differently,’ which, for example, resulted in a decision to stay almost wholly away from traditional advertising. ‘I could say confidently to the client that viral would be successful.’

Unilever brands comprise most of his clients, including Lever 2000, Sunlight and Suave. And it seems he’s met his creative match. ‘Unilever has changed a lot,’ he says. ‘They’re talking about meaningful experiences all the time: [Campaigns] must be relevant and meaningful to the consumer.’