Last week, I witnessed 3,000 CMOs at the ANA Masters of Marketing conference scream, "HOOHA!!" in unison. It's safe to assume this was a conference first.
At that moment, not only did lip-care-turned-shave-brand eos have the entire room screaming unthinkables in their blazers and pencil skirts, but CMO Soyoung Kang demonstrated that they've mastered the art of being joyfully uncomfortable. And guess what: It's printing dollars for them.
Besides teaching me a bunch of new words for the "lady garden" (another new word I learned!) the "Bless your f*king cooch" campaign taught me how finding the edge of comfort for your brand – and respectfully pushing on it – pays off.
You heard that right. Bless your f-*dolphin noise*-ing cooch. Essentially, TikTok personality Carly Joy blessed eos with some original content. Carly posted an unfiltered step-by-step guide on how women should shave their hooha. She just so happened to mention that eos shave cream was her weapon of choice. And, it went absolutely viral.
Before you unsubscribe from the Curiosity newsletter, watch this NSFW TikTok. Tell your boss it’s important, marketing research.
So … what do you do with a gift like that? You build a campaign around it. Overnight, eos’s agency found a way to capitalize on the hit TikTok’s authenticity and reach. The result? Completely new packaging in 72 hours. You know, with "Bless your f*-ing cooch” all over it. And it flew off the f-*car horn*-ing shelf. eos couldn't keep it in stock. They even surprised Carly Joy with the first bottle. And, you better believe she had an emotional response to seeing her words all over her favorite product. This execution by eos is an absolute masterclass in quick-turn activations – and the rise of what I'm calling a "laugh 'n' learn".
Here are a few takeaways …
When working with influencers, amplify their own words.
Influencers have influence for a reason. Don't put words in their mouth. The magic happens when they truly love a product and gift you original content straight from their heart. This isn't the first time eos tried to partner with Carly Joy. But when the brand let her voice shine. That’s when everything changed.
Big creativity can overcome tiny budgets.
This campaign was a showstopper on a shoestring budget. When it comes to slaying it at retail, a blank check is certainly helpful, but the right idea can make all the difference. To pull this off, eos had to be aware of what their customers were saying before the next trend took over. That meant heavy social listening and an agile team that was willing to go all in. When someone blesses you by blessing their f-*police siren*-ing cooch, you better be ready to pull out all the stops from creative to brand to legal. Emphasis on legal.
F-*gong hit*-k the haters.
Was there backlash to this campaign? You betcha. But Karen's not the target market. Gen Z sold eos shave cream out for weeks – without Karen’s help. You can't please everyone – but you can grow your market to make up for the stick-in-the-muds. I'm not saying this is a great idea for every brand. For example, Pepsi probably shouldn't drop an eggplant flavor just to be hilarious (and if they do, Venmo me). But when a human truth presents itself to your brand as a strategic risk, chances are, the risk is worth it – even if it ruffles a few feathers.
The power of a laugh 'n' learn.
Humans have two primal needs when it comes to consuming content: They want to laugh and they want to learn. When brands nail that balance – and do it authentically – the public DEMANDS your product. That’s why Carly Joy’s brash ‘n’ brilliant approach to educating the world on a real consumer pain point created a shave cream shortage. For eos, capitalizing on this viral moment meant pushing beyond their comfort zone as a brand. And, trust us, the only way a shave cream brand is going to get Gen Z to "shop and share" is by taking a giant risk.
So, here’s my challenge to you: What people and processes does your team have in place to move at the speed of TikTok? If Carly Joy blessed your product tomorrow, would you be ready? Now is the perfect time to come up with a f-*dog bark*-ing plan.