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Getting under the skin of Acne-suffering teens in Thailand

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Local market analysis revealed that Pond’s not only faced hundreds of global and local competitors in the facial care battle field but also hundreds of new upcoming beauty skin clinic shops gaining share of wallet for skin solutions. 

Beauty clinics are open on every corner in Thailand. Moreover, some clinics open 24 hours /7 days per week, with treatment starting just from $3 (equal to one Starbuck cup), causing the beauty clinic market to grow more than triple for few years. Thai girls have most likely already been to a skin clinic for treatment of acne.

Further research with Google spots the behaviour that 87% of teens actually start getting worried during the first sign of acne, but most of the time they ignore treatment. Once acne actually appears, they actively search for information on effects and solutions to “serious” acne problems.  They accept that they often feel overwhelmed by over-claimed benefits in advertising messages and finally may end up visiting skin clinics for help, triggered by promising results from store display ads. But because of low standard and poor quality control of majority of clinics, continuous treatment is often needed, resulting in expensive a lack of clarity on potential side effects of these treatments down the line. 


So the agency’s challenge was how could it position Pond’s Trimole-T as the new standard for acne skin, communicating ONLY to potential acne girls at the right moments. 

Mindshare worked with Google analytic to create a comprehensive smart acne programmatic solution which it terms “Acnematic” to automatically trigger, connect and retarget specifically to acne users in each of the different acne need stages, capturing users from the beginning of their teen skin journey from preventive phase through to final waiting queue at clinics.  

1. Preventive pre-acne phase: it dug deep to define common Thai teen acne behaviours and highlighted potential pre-acne causes to trigger awareness and understanding of high risk environments or behaviours. 85% are from stress, lack of sleep, pollution and premenstrual syndrome. It initiated smart targeting combinations beyond simple demographics, using programmatic ecosystem to ascertain acne-related behavioural signals, which were clustered into:

a. Menstrual cycle app access
b. Exam or tutorial sites visitors
c. High pollution CBD areas (based on device access/check-in locations)
d. Regular night-time active browsing behaviour.

2. Acne in action: teens actively search and are aware of what brands are pushing messages or real experiences. To become the most trusted source, the approach was to build pure consumer review activities and focus on SEO to drive organic reach of real consumer voices.

3. Converting them at last moment of truth: many teens are triggered by promotion packages from clinic or clinic is currently their top of mind, so it implemented geo-fencing strategy near skin and beauty clinic branches to trigger consumers at the last stage with money back guarantee offer.

With Acnematic targeting, the agency further leveraged all behavioural data in each stage to retarget systematically back and forth through the various acne journeys.


Pre-acne stage: Study showed that two behaviours together trigger high probability causes of acne. Therefore, it combined demographic and several acne causes to sharpen targeting to teens.

[Daily behaviour] Combined stress and lack of sleep with demographics that result to targeting high school girls during final exams or during commencement to recent grads on job seeking websites.

[Location effect] Combined geo-targeting with high pollution index and busy business areas to reach stress jobbers.

[Specific menstrual period of time] Partnered with a menstrual period tracking app to serve messages during exam months that match with their menstrual periods. The next menstrual period, it retargeted them to remind Pond’s benefit before it is too late for simple treatment.

Acne in action and actively seeking solution stage: 3-day solution activity was launched with consumer reviews talking about “before and after” usage, including real life proofs to fully endorse Pond’s as the most trusted source for active seekers. Mindshare strategically leveraged high popular acne group key words from Google within consumer reviews and hashtags which pushed the activity organically to reflect real user experiences.

Last mile: The agency geo-fenced more than 610 skin clinics, near universities to specifically trigger teens in their last journey as they were considering promotion packages or waiting long queues at clinics. Pond’s money back guarantee was offered to convince teens to convert.


Acnematic targeting system made this campaign a phenomenal success in both business and communication aspects e.g. regaining sales share and driving credentials back to Pond’s.

Business perspective:
- Best performing launch, +187% sales growth in acne variant
- Grew total Pond’s sales by 28%, driving first time growth for Pond’s in a previously flat market over the past two years.

Communication results:
- 5X CTR increased in pre-acne stage which is highest ever and 2X CTR increased from geo-target leads around beauty skin clinics.
- Search volume for the product itself increased up to 55% compared with last year’s campaign results.
- More than 220,000 teens endorsed the 3-day efficacy result and willingly shared and reviewed the product.

Pond’s empowers teen girls to understand that proper and standard treatment is an easy step that they can take control by themselves. And who says the acne girl is hard to reach and change her mind? You just need to identify her needs stage and precisely target her at the right acne stage.

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Brand Owner:
May - October 2016
Media Channel:
  • FMAs shortlisted

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