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Rexona Resolves A Social Stench

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The marketing challenge for this campaign was perceived limited usage occasion and the ignorance of one’s body odour - “Asian men, no body odour. None. They just smell like responsibility,” said Ali Wong, Asian American Comedian.

This is sadly NOT TRUE. Anyone who has ever been to Hong Kong knows that stepping outdoor for just a minute can leave one drenched in sweat as Hong Kong city is hot, humid, crowded and a lot of walking all year round. The second one leaves home, one smells and yet four in five men don’t use deodorant.

While Rexona Men Deodorant is closely linked to a sporting must-have, it is not considered as a daily personal hygiene necessity. The proof is an unmistakably strong stench, once one gets onto any public transportation. The problem is that most men are oblivious about their body odour, unlike women who are self-conscious.

Insights: Men are oblivious, because Men’s “MASCULINITY” is super huge that they can’t smell themselves. Rexona Men’s target audience 18-34 year old Young Men’s Masculinity refuses to listen. Brushing off other bro’s opinions.


Female opinions can seriously dent their masculinity. The only way to get through to them is by showing that women find their pungent smell off-putting, and would not consider them as potential dates, destitute of love. Body odour affects social life and it was time young men realised it.


PHD needed to trigger realisation for the need of deodorant beyond just sports amongst men.

Its strategy for market development: Market to men’s Masculinity with Kryptonite!, by amplifying women’s opinions on men’s body odour: 

By sharing what is really in women’s minds, it pierced right through to men’s masculinity, as a much-needed wake-up call. Then by identifying and targeting at men’s multi-faceted interests beyond sports with customised women’s opinion, it aimed to elevate Rexona from mere functional product to an everyday lifestyle necessity.

Strategic pillars:

1.0 EXPERIMENTED on SUPER-MEN’S Masculinity to SOLICIT women’s WARNINGS / OPINIONS: Knowing that men are attuned to facts, the agency put attractive, charming, smart, but non-deodorant wearing men on a social experiment - blind date to prove the point that body odour affects social life. The social documentary turned viral.

2.0 SYNTHESIZING DIGITAL DATA, it created KRYPTONITE: Reinforcing the message, digital data-mining led PHD to uncover a multitude of men’s interest. Through ethnography, it took the data from men’s YouTube viewing behaviours, Adwords and Search Trends to create a data stack of insights. It flipped these insightful points-of-interest to points-of-intent by showing men the different variation of women’s warning / opinions if men smelt bad, for every one of their moments of interest. Custom creative turned each pumped-up-moment to put-off-moments, triggering the dire need for Rexona deodorant in every façade of life.

3.0 STIMULATE SALES at MICRO-MOMENTS: Turning men’s newfound solution seeking-mentality into action, it identified the perfect micro-moment to further motivate purchases through re-targeting, and sealed the deal with redeemable retailer discount e-coupons.


1.0 EXPERIMENTED on SUPER-MEN’S MASCULINITY to showcase women’s opinions: PHD conceptualised a social experiment video content to jolt men’s awareness of their stench in partnership with Stakk, Hong Kong’s local Buzzfeed to create and distribute a social experiment video online. Non-deodorant wearing good-looking men were placed in the most vulnerable situation - a blind date, which required physical movement. Body odour was inevitable. The verdict was clear. No matter how good looking, body odour repels women. The facial expressions and opinions of both the disgusted women and the shame-faced men became a powerful visual warning of not wearing deodorant. Rexona “1”; Masculinity deflated!

2.0 DIGITAL DATA STACK created KRYPTONITE: It continued the momentum leveraging women’s constant warnings to use deodorant beyond sports. These warnings / opinions were derived from men’s digital data footprint. It synthesised data from various suites of Google Audience Insights to create Kryptonite - a data stack of insights which inspired the creation of 50 data driven video creatives to remind men that body odour is a turn off and shaped the video content targeting strategy of hijacking men at 50 selected cluster of interest:

• YouTube viewing behaviour helped determine the broad interest categories of “What men care about? And targeting parameters.

• Search trends, volumes & real-time rising searches determined the precise topics which formed the foundation for messaging for each videos i.e NBA is to team sports

• Google Adwords identified the top key word searched and colloquial nuances were incorporated into the creatives.


These results are testament that masculinity marketing on digital worked; and the insight that women’s opinion as the kryptonite of men’s Masculinity was spot on. The Social Experiment and Data-Driven-Creatives successfully convinced the audience to use Rexona as a daily necessity, resolving the social issue of body odour.

Business results:
• 14.6% uplift in total Rexona Men market share, arresting category decline (-1.5% y-o-y)
• 147,892 clicks to redeem vouchers = INTEND TO PURCHASE

Brand results:
• 31% uplift in ad recall: Strong brand recall indicates that right message was served at the right moment to the right audience
• 12% uplift in consideration to purchase: extended the usage occasion beyond sports led to an increase in consideration to purchase. (Source: Google Brand Lift Survey)

Media results:
• +2400% rate of engagement (1,008 shares, 940 comments)
• 1,140,798 consumers reached (96%)
• 5,600,000 video views
• 15,000,000 impressions.

The Social Experiment Video Content generated consumer’s interest & engagement:
• 56% SAVINGS on CPClicks
• 720% SAVINGS on CPViews
•+85% increased clicks (63,738 clicks) = interest.

Data-Driven-Multiple Creative Video delivered efficiency:
• 0.26% CTR surpassed average 0.11%
• 136% increased CTRs (25,075 clicks) = interest
• 33% CPM savings.

Rexona is now considered a daily hygiene necessity Hong Kong can breathe freely again.

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Rexona Men
Brand Owner:
May - August 2017
Media Channel:
  • FMAs shortlisted

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