The D2C brand war is on

How do you compete when almost every brand is entering the digital ring? FCB/Six found one way by tapping into dynamic pricing.

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The pandemic hit play on a digital renaissance. A record number of brands, big and small, migrated online in a short span, many using Shopify and Amazon to build out virtual stores and enter (or re-enter) the D2C space. Competition is rife and so there comes a time when driving online conversions involves a little more than traditional tactics.

“You can go out with a digital coupon, and say ‘Hey, come buy a condom on our Shopify page,’” says Ian Mackenzie, CCO of Toronto’s FCB/Six. “Or you can find a way to do that creatively.”

Starting today, with the launch of Australian-based condom brand LifeStyles’ “Publicly Traded” platform, Mackenzie and his agency are shining a light on how brands can drive both eyes and clicks online.

The new LifeStyles platform cleverly plays with the analogy that, like stocks, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are publicly traded, hence the platform name. It brings that insight to life by taking real-time search activity around STIs to create faux stock charts. So, for instance, when someone enters the words “painful urination” or “herpes” in Google Search, the platform takes that data and presents it as stocks for six STIs (Chlamydia, HIV, syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea and HPV) that are on the “rise” or in “decline” (depending on search trends that day).

The creative concept, in and of itself, works as an awareness driver for the Lifestyles brand. It’s rare for a condom company to veer away from marketing sex. They tend to focus on “pleasure” and “performance,” he says, which then often overlooks the #1 reason to wear a condom. “There is a light corporate social responsibility dynamic to this work that is actually seeking to get consumers to engage with the topic of STIs, and to wear a condom because it’s safe.”

But beyond being a brand-building exercise, “Publicly Traded” was also built to be a lead capture tool.

Each day the platform tracks an “STI Index” of the six “stocks” and, for anyone who has supplied their email to the brand on the site, there’s an option to receive a price alert for a pack of condoms. So just like the stock market, a person can request to get an automated email when the price of a Lifestyles bundle pack falls below a certain price (from $19.99 to $12.99) – essentially, the condoms become more affordable when potential transmission is on the rise.

“Raising awareness about the importance of safe sex is central to our company’s mission, and we are continuously seeking ways to deliver that message in a meaningful and impactful way,” says Marta Toth, director of global marketing strategy at LifeStyles Healthcare in a release. “The beauty of this campaign is that it approaches education on STIs in a fresh new way while seamlessly providing easy access to condoms.”

The platform adds to the agency’s repertoire of creative data work from PFLAG’s “Destination Pride” to BMW’s “Live Unscripted” and Black & Abroad’s “Go Back to Africa.” Mackenzie says the Lifestyles team saw its work on the global awards circuit and approached the agency nine months ago on a project basis to help bring the brand to the frontier of e-commerce.

“STI data is kind of boring,” says Mackenzie. “You could create a graph that shows Chlamydia is on the rise. But I think by transposing uninteresting data into a hot medium like stock charts, we’re activating the data in an interesting way. And the fact that it powers dynamic pricing is an executional detail that’s important.”

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