viewers for GMA segment
viewers on HBO platforms
P&G – arguably one of the most iconic brands in the world - is best known for its captivating and representative storytelling. Their campaigns act both as mirrors – allowing people to see their own unique stories and experiences – and windows - creating shared understanding with a view into someone else’s stories and experiences.
So, when P&G challenged the team to develop a new model of brand storytelling that would appeal to Gen Z and Millennials, we knew our content solution had to be “distinctively P&G” - inspiring and authentic, inclusive and representative, a premium experience and finally, the ability to create a positive behavior change among viewers. The series would further bolster Gillette’s brand mission: to empower men to be the very best they can be. The popular personal care product line is a household name among young males aged 18-34. With Gillette’s brand values as our north star, our goal was to create an original series that would be diverse, inclusive, equitable throughout the production process, and distributed through a premium, ad-free network.
To tackle this challenge, dentsu assembled an integrated team of creative and media experts from its in-house production company – The Story Lab – to concept, create, produce and distribute a premium original content series.
Dentsu’s integrated team of strategists, creatives and media experts studied the Gillette brand and developed a strong pulse on young male consumers’ behaviors, needs and perceptions. The team saw an opportunity to approach this impressionable demographic as change agents – a future generation of men who could effectively dismantle stereotypical gender roles, reject toxic masculinity and overcome adversity to achieve greatness.
In order to turn this insight into an original activation, dentsu collaborated with its open ecosystem of media partners to find a true, inspiring story about young men overcoming adversity through the power of community. The SMAC Entertainment Team – notably, Michael Strahan, two-time Emmy winner, Super Bowl Champion and co-host of ABC’s “Good Morning America” - discovered the story of Biff and his St. Francis football team that had been blackballed from their Baltimore private Catholic school league for being "too good." Working with Gillette’s brand team, The Story Lab developed, produced and distributed a series that would creatively embody Gillette's core values by turning them into overarching themes: mentorship, overcoming adversity and the power of community.
The original series came in the form of a four-episode documentary titled The Cost of Winning, produced by The Story Lab, co-owned by P&G and distributed in the U.S. by HBO and HBO Max. Each 30-minute episode features the St. Frances Academy Panthers high school football program in Baltimore, Maryland.
Here’s what made this activation unique and “distinctively P&G” on-screen and off-screen:
- Original, inspiring and authentic storytelling. Gillette and dentsu uncovered an authentic consumer insight that was then weaved into every aspect of the story development, production and distribution process. The series isn’t focused on selling products or brands, but is instead focused on surfacing true stories, people and potential.
- Innovative engagement model. Leveraging an ad-free model, The Cost of Winning represents a new consumer engagement model — one that avoids the intrusiveness of traditional advertising by co-creating and supporting content people care about. Gillette and dentsu teams became the first to work with HBO and HBO Max through a hybrid creative-media model. Gillette also retains the ownership of the original content, as well as the rights for international distribution, which may generate future opportunities for both brand exposure and revenue growth.
- Power of bringing creative and media together. The Story Lab was able to concept, develop, produce and distribute the series in a short period of time while this process would normally take XX weeks at non-integrated agencies. Given dentsu’s integrated model, creative and media came together to produce a seamless multi-project delivery of The Cost of Winning. In addition to the four-part series, additional brand extensions, such as a companion podcast with Victor Cruz and the ‘Best a Man Can Be Scholarship’ were activated soon after to unleash the full potential of creative and media coming together.
- Led with diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I). Leveraging a diverse media supply chain, The Cost of Winning embodies DE&I from start to finish. The team assembled a diverse production crew who could help shape the story and ensure accurate portrayals of young Black men and BIPOC communities. Further, SMAC, Gillette and dentsu didn’t just tell a story about St. Francis, but also found tangible ways to support the school by providing scholarships and donating 15% of the production budget to the school for greater economic empowerment.
Nominated for a Sports Emmy, The Cost of Winning achieved more than what it set out to do originally. The series premiered on HBO, followed by streaming on HBO Max, and quickly became the top performing sports title since the launch of HBO Max. Leaning primarily on organic efforts and dentsu’s ecosystem of media partners, the series optimized media spend and surpassed KPIs set by the Gillette team. The premiere of The Cost of Winning reached 800,000 viewers on HBO across platforms, a huge success for a show of this scale with each episode after that averaging 700k per episode.
While Gillette planned for the campaign to be a cost-neutral investment, it quickly became a profit-generating campaign and drove mutual benefits for all parties involved, largely due to the popularity of the trailer preview presented live on GMA by Executive Producer Michael Strahan among other paid media and social opportunities.
From a philanthropic standpoint, St Francis Academy received a $150,000 donation and the collaboration created the first Gillette “The Best a Man Can Be” Scholarships that provided $50,000 in college tuition for two well-deserving athletes. These scholarships were presented live on GMA with more than 3.4 million viewers tuning in.
One in five people have dyslexia and 40% of children with learning disabilities experience mental health problems. Over 750k Canadian students are Dyslexic, however, Canada lacks the tools neces...
The Oreo Doomsday Vault
Having never built a global brand, Generali has an intricate web of partners, involving disparate agencies in local markets, delivering their own creative and production. The result was marketin...
Gillette: Cost of Winning
Nominated for a Sports Emmy, The Cost of Winning series premiered on HBO, followed by streaming on HBO Max, and quickly became the top performing sports title since the launch of HBO Max.
Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Dentsu health helped design and implement a go-to-market strategy with a best-in-class campaign that capitalizes on historical learnings, is grounded in data and analytics to inform key decision...
Foot Locker is always looking for new ways to innovate and improve the shopping experience for its customers. As a result, the brand asked dentsu gaming to integrate a new augmented reality feat...
Crayola Color Your World
Crayola need a unique campaign to emphasize their belief that every child has the power to create their place in the world by coloring themselves into it. Dentsu teams developed the strategy to ...
How do you break through the clutter and build momentum in a way that earns credit for reinvigorating the traditional PC ecosystem? With 15 micro-influencers creating a network effect across a ...
Multiple Myeloma Customer Centric Multi-Channel Campaign
American Multi-Brand Pharmaceutical Company Increases Oncological Growth Potential by Combining Personal and Digital Promotional Strategies
Myeloid Leukemia Multi-Channel Campaign
An American multi-brand pharmaceutical manufacturer needed to re-position as the brand of choice for Myeloid Leukemia therapy, increase NRx and maintain and protect existing Rx.
Cancer Treatments Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
A pharmaceutical corporation specialized in the manufacturing of cancer and immunology drugs needed to design a program to support the launch of its key multiple myeloma (MM) treatment product. ...
Season of the #Whiff
Dentsu was given the opportunity to highlight Head & Shoulders’ partnership with MLB through a creative solution inspired by its brand positioning.
U.S. Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
From a diagnostic and descriptive analysis approach, the solution evolved into a robust advanced analytics omnichannel measurement framework that was proactive and prescriptive in nature.
A Top Ten Global Pharmaceutical Company
This dentsu health client recognized the need for a new go-to-market process as well as organizational change management to leverage its technology investments.
Ascensia Diabetes Care
Diabetes management is experiencing a deep industry transformation through technology, innovation and digitalization of the patient journey through services like telehealth and digital pharmacie...
Sprint: Smack that Talks Back
Meet La Futbolera, the smack-talking granny who ignited the competitive spirit of US Latino soccer fans while creating a fun, long-lasting exchange with Sprint.
Copa Airlines: Sube La Marea
Promoting Copa’s generous sponsorship of the Panamanian national football team amid the excitement of their first World Cup invitation, required a big, cultural display of patriotism. What bette...
Avocados From Mexico: Cook from the heart with Thalia
Cocina para el Corazón with Thalia, a first of its kind celebrity-personifying dialog system that challenges prospective users to a 30-day one-to-one cook-off.
ViiV Healthcare: Delivering Unique Customer Journeys
With the amount of digital noise that physicians hear every day, ViiV needed a comprehensive and impactful solution that could target a smaller audience. The team wanted to identify those key mo...
Using the power of visual AI, 360i and Kroger created Chefbot to reduce food waste by helping people make the most of the food they have on hand, during a time when home cooking is on the rise.