Embracing Marketing Mistakes

Creative Countermeasures in Olaplex's War on Counterfeits - Campaign Crunch

May 07, 2024 Prohibition PR Season 1 Episode 32
Creative Countermeasures in Olaplex's War on Counterfeits - Campaign Crunch
Embracing Marketing Mistakes
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Embracing Marketing Mistakes
Creative Countermeasures in Olaplex's War on Counterfeits - Campaign Crunch
May 07, 2024 Season 1 Episode 32
Prohibition PR

Ever wonder how a brand can elegantly dance around the issue of product knock-offs while reinforcing its market dominance? Sinead Morrissey from Prohibition joins us to reveal how Olaplex's 'Ola Dupe' campaign did just that—turning the tide of imitation into a wave of authentic brand love. Sinead, who rose through the ranks from intern to senior account manager, shares her first-hand experience of this marketing masterstroke. Together, we unwrap how Olaplex sent fake duplicates to influencers, setting the stage for a grand reveal that showcased the unmatched value of their patented haircare formula. This innovative approach not only combated counterfeit culture but also amplified Olaplex's prestige in the beauty industry.

We're have a candid conversation about the art of keeping things straightforward yet profoundly impactful in creative campaigns. Sinead captivates us with a story of a slight PR blunder, reminding us that we're all human—even the pros. Don't miss this episode of Campaign Crunch, where we explore the brilliance behind Olaplex's fight against fakes and celebrate the delightful mishaps that keep the world of PR spinning.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder how a brand can elegantly dance around the issue of product knock-offs while reinforcing its market dominance? Sinead Morrissey from Prohibition joins us to reveal how Olaplex's 'Ola Dupe' campaign did just that—turning the tide of imitation into a wave of authentic brand love. Sinead, who rose through the ranks from intern to senior account manager, shares her first-hand experience of this marketing masterstroke. Together, we unwrap how Olaplex sent fake duplicates to influencers, setting the stage for a grand reveal that showcased the unmatched value of their patented haircare formula. This innovative approach not only combated counterfeit culture but also amplified Olaplex's prestige in the beauty industry.

We're have a candid conversation about the art of keeping things straightforward yet profoundly impactful in creative campaigns. Sinead captivates us with a story of a slight PR blunder, reminding us that we're all human—even the pros. Don't miss this episode of Campaign Crunch, where we explore the brilliance behind Olaplex's fight against fakes and celebrate the delightful mishaps that keep the world of PR spinning.

Would you like to know if your social media and content strategy is perfect for this year? Book a free 15-minute brand discovery call here with Chris, and we will help you grow your brand today. And if you like the show, please leave us a review, or even just a thumbs up. It is very much appreciated - we want your feedback.

Follow Chris Norton:
X
TikTok
LinkedIn

Follow Will Ockenden:
X
LinkedIn

Follow The Show:
X
TikTok
YouTube

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Campaign Crunch, our concise companion to Socially Inacceptable. This is a much shorter version of the show and we delve into the best marketing campaigns, dissecting successes, missteps and everything in between, all in under 20 minutes. Each episode tackles a specific campaign or crisis, meticulously examining its strategy, execution and, most importantly, the key takeaways for you and your brand. Hi everybody, welcome back to Campaign Crunch. This week we've got with us the lovely Sinead Morrissey. Welcome to the show. Sinead Hi, why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for us at Prohibition? Okay, I'm Sinead Hi. Why don't you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you?

Speaker 2:

do for a position. Okay, I'm Sinead. As Chris said, I'm a senior account manager. I've been here for about six years. Yeah, I started as an intern. Met Chris when I was at uni.

Speaker 1:

Although that sounds weird, it sounds like I was sitting on your ear, does it yeah?

Speaker 3:

Chris was my.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that sounds weird. It sounds like I was sitting on your ear.

Speaker 3:

That sounds creepy. Yeah, it does sound a bit groomy, creepy, groomy, groomy, groomy. That's worse. We'll leave that in.

Speaker 2:

So Chris was my lecturer and he groomed me to come and work at Prohibition. Thanks for that, and yeah. So I interned and then freelanced, and then you've not been able to get rid of me since.

Speaker 1:

That's it. So what are you here to talk about today, then? What campaign have you brought to us to illuminate the world of marketing about?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm going to start slowly, because I don't think this is a world that either of you two are very familiar with. Premium hair care.

Speaker 1:

What are you saying Just for men?

Speaker 2:

Is it just for men and Donald Trump no so have either of you ever heard of Olaplex? Uh-huh.

Speaker 3:

What is it? It's a premium hair care product.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, okay, olaplex, we'll do a bit of background on what that actually is. Okay, Premium hair care for professional, professional hairdressers so you could go and get like an in-salon treatment. Um, but then they also launched a consumer line so it's pretty expensive. Um, you're looking at like 50 60 quid for a shampoo and conditioner yeah, okay so they're like. Obviously, you're both familiar with dupe culture, right? This is probably one of the most duped products in the market.

Speaker 2:

So you might have to explain dupe culture to so dupes are basically when it tends to be like high street retailers will recreate a premium product at like half the price or even less. So Aldi does a lot of dupes. They actually do a dupe for Olaplex.

Speaker 1:

Colin the Caterpillar type stuff when they copied M&S.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but just tends to be a lot cheaper. They claim it's as good as the original. Some of them are, some of them aren't.

Speaker 3:

I'm right in saying that it's completely different formulations. Is it when Aldi will dupe something, or is it sometimes a case of literally same production line, different branding?

Speaker 2:

If they can do, yeah, but obviously this product in particular has 160 different patterns, is that how you say it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So that's like impossible to duplicate. So no dupe of olaplex is ever going to be as good as the original, so interesting.

Speaker 3:

In terms of brand equity, it's super strong yeah, okay.

Speaker 2:

So pre this campaign that we're going to talk about, which is the ola dupe campaign, um, tiktok creators had posted so much content around Olaplex dupes on TikTok and social media. There was 30.4 million views of the hashtag pre-campaign, and that's the hashtag Olaplex dupe. Olaplex obviously was sick and tired of being replicated and then, using their social listening tools, they identified how often it was being duped and, in retaliation, launched Ola Dupe to show consumers that they're the only company that can actually dupe Olaplex. So basically, what they did is they sent out 100 Ola Dupe press boxes to influencers. Um, the packaging was like pretty much identical, um, and it was that all of their products are kind of given numbers, so there's like number three, which is like a bond, something or other. They all do different things, um, and they called this ola dupe number 160, which is a nod to the 160 patents in the product that we're keeping up yeah, can I just stop you there have they created a man's version which is called ola tupe tupe?

Speaker 1:

premium hair products. Okay, moving on. Okay, I had to get that joke in there because I thought, oh, that's a good one, it rhymes.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, so they basically created this product, sent it out to over 100 influencers and launched an unboxing campaign which took place on TikTok and Instagram. Then, basically, the call to action for consumers was that there was 160 free bottles of Oladupe which were available on the website, which was actually like one of their other products. That people got sent along with an explanation of the stunt, but it was quite clever because they worked with an influencer I think she's called Taylor Madison and she's like a celebrity dupe because she looks like Kylie Jenner. So they sent the celebrity dupe the dupe product.

Speaker 3:

Multi-layered this campaign? Yeah, it's really well thought through, but it's quite confusing. It's multi-layered this campaign.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's really well thought through but it's quite confusing. So they basically did lots of different videos with influencers, so a lot of them unboxed it and then, as like a follow-up, they did a video revealing. They basically peeled the sticker the Oladipay sticker off and it revealed that it was actually Olaplex underneath. Then, as if that wasn't confusing enough, um, they basically the ceo at the time, julie wong, I think she was called um released a video basically talking people through the dupe and why they did it. But actually it was a deep fake video. So they really committed to deep culture here and and basically she like she just basically then appeared in her actual form on the video and was like, oh, that wasn't really me like basically just tricking people, um, but essentially oladip hashtag. Oladipay had 49 million views on TikTok. Every free bottle was claimed within two hours and the marketing stunt generated 1.1 million in global earned media value.

Speaker 3:

And have they reclaimed their narrative?

Speaker 2:

then yeah, 100% no. Like they've just proved that it is pretty much impossible to dupe them.

Speaker 1:

What I like about this is that it was a they made. The product that they gave away was the 160, and it's because of the 160 patents, isn't it's? That is the whole thing is really cleverly thought through, yeah, for me they've.

Speaker 3:

They've really understood social media, haven't they? And I think that you know big brands. Often the tendency would be like right, we need some lawsuits here we need to sue the hell out of everybody duping. Actually, they, they've recognized that conversation is not going to change, so let's become part of that conversation. And they've they've really understood how tiktok works. And how to how to kind of shift that conversation, haven't they?

Speaker 1:

and it was perfect for their audience there's a quote there as well, isn't there? While in imitation is the highest form of flattery. We wanted to have fun with the fact that the opel how do you say it? Olaplex.

Speaker 2:

We wanted to have fun with the fact that the Ople how do you say it? Olaplex.

Speaker 3:

We wanted to have fun that the Olaplex you say brand, but you pronounce that word brand. Is that what it is?

Speaker 1:

Do you want me to read it? Yeah, you read it. We'll just edit me out.

Speaker 2:

Well, imitation is the highest form of flattery. We wanted to have fun with the fact that the Olaplex brand can be imitated but never replicated, and that was from the CMO.

Speaker 3:

That's brilliant and for me, it's quite a brave, bold campaign and I think the word fun there is quite interesting because they have had fun with it haven't they. And it is a fun campaign. It's really got some good results. The fact that this deepfake CEO statement as well is just kind of multi-layered it's like I'm peeling an onion isn't it?

Speaker 2:

It's tapping into every layer of social media and all of the scary things that are out there, basically.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, absolutely. What a great campaign. And I think the product is obviously. I mean, it's the fact that it can't be copied, it's a very high price point, it's got some real kind of value and that's probably that probably explains the kind of the frenzy to get these hands on the free products have you used the product?

Speaker 1:

that's the question. I have yes, and what do you think? Um is it worth the money?

Speaker 2:

I haven't used the shampoo and conditioner. I've used, like, the pre-hair wash treatment and it is good. But even that was like, I think, £35, £40.

Speaker 3:

Is this? Is this like?

Speaker 1:

Hang on Pre-hair wash. Yeah, so you put it on, you wash your hair before you wash your hair.

Speaker 2:

Well, it's like a hair mask and like obviously the range is so much more than just shampoo and conditioner. There's all sorts A hair mask.

Speaker 3:

Zach uses a hair mask, don't you?

Speaker 1:

He wears a hat.

Speaker 3:

He's got a hat mask, so is this a bit like the GHD strategy and the kind of. I think was it the early noughties when they obviously they launched GHD. It was only available through salons. It was, you know, 150 quid at the time, which now probably doesn't seem like all that much, and it was absolutely. I remember when I was at university and the kind of the it was an absolute phenomenon on ghd hair straighteners and because you could only buy them in salons.

Speaker 2:

They there's an element of scarcity about them as well yeah, I think obviously that's how they started um, and people even nowadays, like when you go to like the salon to get your hair done, people will add on olaplex treatments because they're not necessarily willing. I don't know how much it costs in hairdressers, um, but they might not be willing to spend the money themselves. But the ladder on it's like a bit of a treat as a bolt-on yeah, you have to pay for interesting interesting.

Speaker 3:

So, um, a lot of different sort of themes here, I think, um, and you know, from from a kind of a broader perspective though, so our listeners will be listening to this, thinking, wow, okay, that's, that's quite a bold campaign. What are the kind of the lessons or the learnings do you think that other other brands can take from this?

Speaker 2:

I think probably to be brave. Um, but it's, it's. It's quite simple, like in it's. When you look at what they actually did, it's very simple and probably if you came up with the idea, people might just think that's not going to work like it's.

Speaker 3:

It's kind of obvious obvious, but the best creative ideas are simple. If you need to explain a creative idea more than a sentence, it's not a good idea.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they've just they executed it very well and they've just they obviously know their audience so so well, because I am their audience and even like all those followers that all those influencers that they worked with were just perfect, like even down to using like the celebrity duper, but yeah, I think it was just really well thought through and they've actually managed to insert themselves in the middle of the conversation and like the cultural phenomenon that dupe culture is Rather than fighting against it they've gone with the momentum of that conversation and now they're leading it, aren't they?

Speaker 3:

Sort of?

Speaker 1:

taking the M&S approach and suing the shit out of Aldi, allegedly close brackets.

Speaker 3:

Allegedly Final point for me, I think, the importance of understanding and listening to how your brand's talked about and understanding what those narratives are, rather than just kind of burying your head in the sand if there's negatives or positives or conversations you don't like, and they've absolutely done that and they absolutely understand the channels as well, don't they yeah. Yeah, good, thank you for that.

Speaker 1:

Right, well, Sinead. Another question that we ask all our guests on the show is about the professional fuck-up that they're deeply, deeply proud of, and in the pre-show briefing.

Speaker 2:

Sinead claimed she's never fucked up in her years of being a PR professional. Hence why we've never either, I haven't. This is a really tough one for me.

Speaker 1:

You can't think of any mistake you've ever made.

Speaker 2:

I don't make mistakes. Is that like?

Speaker 3:

saying my biggest flaw is that I'm a perfectionist in a job interview.

Speaker 2:

I probably said that. No, I'm sure there's many.

Speaker 1:

A few moments later.

Speaker 2:

I mean only like small stuff, probably Like I did once send an invite out to a pizza storm event without the date or the time on it. That's about it what? Happened to the restaurant and chain pizza storm and they went bust shortly after.

Speaker 3:

And we're not for a moment linking the two no, absolutely not right, sinead. Thank you very much for that. That was illuminating and interesting and, um yeah, food for thought for all of us.

Unpacking Olaplex's Ola Dupe Campaign
Importance of Simple, Effective Creativity
Sinead's F*ck Up