Nivea puts its game face on

The skin care line targets soccer-loving, sensitive-skinned men online and in store.
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With the help of TV, in-store promotion and a new online game, Nivea For Men is targeting young male soccer fans, aligning the brand in Canada with its European background.

Draftfcb created online game Put Your Game Face On to raise brand awareness among the targeted group of soccer fans who avoid shaving because of sensitive skin. It also adapted TV creative for the Canadian market and will launch in-store activations this summer linking back to soccer, including contest opportunities to win soccer tickets.

Working on the insights that men who buy the product tend to be 18 to 35 and take care of their skin, but are also low-maintenance and love soccer over other men’s sports, the Montreal office of Draftfcb framed the campaign around European Football, says Annabel Egan, account manager, Draftfcb.

Egan adds that Nivea’s target demographic is over-indexed among fans of soccer (as opposed to, say, hockey, which has a much wider audience). The growth in the sport’s popularity – it is the largest participatory sport, with more than 800,000 registered players – and the new addition of a professional soccer team in Montreal make the campaign timely.

To engage fans, the agency developed a game that entails frequent virtual shaving to win a soccer challenge. The longer players can keep a soccer ball in the air, the more points they receive. When the ball hits the ground, the player’s beard grows; too long a beard and the game ends. Nivea products drop from the sky at random points in the game, offering the players a reprieve by shrinking the beard.

“Other [skin care] brands are after a metrosexual target,” says Anne-Marie Blouin,co-CD, Draftfcb. “Our target is a little bit more casual. [Nivea] is something that’s simple, uncomplicated, not fussy. It’s not a high end brand that men are sometimes intimidated by. It’s casual skin care for the regular guy.”

Having launched at the end of March, the game has already seen some early success, with many players returning to the game multiple times.

“Our top scorer so far has 10,000 points. That’s hours and hours of game play,” says Egan. “Personally, I’ve never achieved more than 30 points. And since I’ve been testing the game, I’ve been playing quite a bit.”

The entire promotion is a branding exercise, Blouin says because Nivea For Men didn’t have a strong identity, they are working to incorporate the regular guy identity in all their promotions. The game itself doesn’t feature a call to action because the goal was to make the brand top of mind when men walked into stores.

“People are so inundated all the time: click here, like us,” Blouin adds. “The fact that they’re giving us their attention already shouldn’t be an opportunity to harass them. We want for them to have a positive image of Nivea. ”

This summer, as the soccer season heats up, the theme will extend to in-store promotions reinforcing the brand’s non-metrosexual niche in the aisle.