Purelygreat hopes to cast a spell on skeptical consumers

The brand takes a disruptive approach to convincing the world it is "ready" for a natural deodorant.

With its new online campaign, Purelygreat is taking the viewer back to when the bubonic plague and concerns about witchcraft were rampant to tackle doubts consumers might have about the effectiveness of natural deodorants.

The spots are set in an environment of buzzing flies, crooked teeth, mud, superstition and foul body odour. But in one, the peasants regard someone who managed to smell good using natural means as a potential “witch,” while another shows them regarding another method involving some “old spices” as “dodgy,” in a subtle dig at the more established competition. Both spots conclude with the tagline “A natural deodorant for a world that’s finally ready for a natural deodorant.”

Purelygreat founder Philip Pellat insists it is a wholesome company at heart, despite the unsettling witch burning theme in the creative. The company uses all-natural ingredients, is handmade in Ontario and verified by the Environmental Working Group to ensure safety and quality of the product. But setting the ads in an era that is not “nice” helps to address the skepticism about how effective a natural deodorant can be – as does showing the primitive mindsets of people who aren’t “ready” for natural methods but readily use established brands with questionable additives.

Pete Henderson of Toronto production company Someplace Nice, who directed the spots, adds that an upstart brand like Purelygreat needs also “strong, disruptive creative” to get noticed in an already crowded category. Purelygreat is also becoming more visible at retail: first launching in 2011, it currently distributes to 500 stores in Canada (mostly health and eco-focused stores, though it is also available in Winners and Marshals) and also sells through its own website, Amazon and wellness-focused Well.ca.

The spots are airing on social across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. The company is also running a sampling program through its ecommerce site.

According to Mordor Intelligence data, the deodorant category in North America is projected to reach $6.21 billion USD by 2023, with steady category growth in the natural hygiene market. Large CPG firms like Unilever and Procter & Gamble have recognized the upward trend and made acquisitions of natural deodorant players, like Schmidt’s and Native.