#MarketingMasterminds: Johnson & Johnson | InSync with the Stayfree Sistahood
How did this idea come about?
‘InSync with the Stayfree Sistahood’ is an influencer campaign that builds on our previous ‘In Sync with Sho Madjozi’ campaign.
We wanted to create a safe space where women could talk about their periods, share their stories, and get advice from other women on things they might not understand or have never experienced.
For the first campaign, we created a bot, which was basically an avatar of Sho Madjozi, with her voice and profile. Users could log onto Facebook and strike up a conversation with the bot and it would feel like they were having a conversation with, and learning about their period, from Sho Madjozi. Any question that the bot was unable to answer was directed to a human agent, who would answer the question personally.
The campaign was a massive success – and a difficult one to beat – but we learnt a lot from it. The questions that users submitted helped us to understand what women are really struggling with when it comes to their periods. Things like “How do I tell my boyfriend?” and “How can I manage the pains?” came up, which was really interesting to us and inspired the content and approach for the second campaign iteration.
With ‘InSync with The Stayfree Sistahood’, we wanted to keep the conversations going but also wanted to refresh the campaign. We launched version 2.0 of the bot in collaboration with a sisterhood of influencers – Candice Modiselle, Zola Nene, Buhle Lupindo, and LeAnne Dlamini – who kept people talking and also discussed products to help women find the right one for them.
Ultimately, we now built the “A-to-Z of Periods”. Our conversations have broadened beyond periods to include topics like hormones, relationships, and your “period personality”, which is a fun way to drive engagement through interactive quizzes.
Why was there a need for a campaign like ‘InSync with the Stayfree Sistahood’?
Talking about menstrual cycles is taboo, but it shouldn’t be. Women should feel safe and comfortable talking about their bodies, sharing stories about how they cope with these changes, and supporting each other through the tough days.
Did you experience any challenges executing the campaign, and how did you overcome these?
We had planned to launch the campaign in March 2020 with an on-location advert shoot. But lockdown made this challenging and we had to come up with a way to shoot the ad remotely.
Since we were aiming for authenticity with this campaign, we came up with the idea of the influencers chatting about their periods over FaceTime and eventually moving their conversation to Facebook Messenger, where the public is invited to join in and engage with the influencers.
Candice, Zola, Buhle, and LeAnne recorded themselves on their smartphones and sent us the footage to use in the video along with the professionally directed Zoom shots. The fact that the self-recorded footage wasn’t perfect or that the Zoom shots were grainy, added to the authenticity of the campaign. It was intended to feel like listening in on someone’s FaceTime call and not a perfect TV ad. It was a really interesting experience, and it all came together really well.
Tell us about your campaign approach.
We used the pitch, play, plunge framework with Facebook as the main channel.
The advert launched during the pitch phase, during lockdown. Influencer content dominated the early pitch and play phases as a way to raise awareness, increase engagement, and start conversations.
We used Facebook’s branded tool to boost the content and make sure it was reaching the target audience. We took the best bits from the influencer content and repurposed it into cutdowns and mini Stayfree ads. We also included relatable period memes and storytelling prompts as animated gifs, as well as playfully illustrated product ads.
During the play phase, when lockdown restrictions eased, we shot a few product demos in studio. These were Buzzfeed-like videos of the influencers discussing products.
The bot was introduced during the plunge phase.
We used all the video, memes, and gifs on Facebook and Instagram, but cut the content in different ways – so there was something on Stories, something on the feed, and all in a bunch of different formats.
How does it work?
Users can visit the Stayfree Africa Facebook page and strike up a conversation in Messenger. No topic is off limits, there are no silly questions, just a safe place where women can speak up and get support.
What were the results?
Our goals for this campaign were to start conversations about a very normal thing while raising product awareness. We wanted high engagement with our content, but we also wanted people to engage with the bot for longer periods (excuse the pun) and to return to the bot when they needed to.
We used specific calls to action to encourage participation, like asking people to share their period story, and it’s amazing to see how differently we experience something as common as a period.
The influencer content and relatable memes did really well, with an average 66% engagement rate on Facebook. Some of the product ads recorded 35% engagement, which is a great result for a product advert.
Were there any unexpected results?
About a quarter of bot users returned to the bot more than 14 times, which was crazy but overall a very positive outcome and positive sentiment around the campaign.
What was your biggest learning?
There were three key learnings for me.
First, you have to be adaptable. Covid-19 proved that we can never be sure what’s going to happen, not just in the world and in society, but also on social media. You have to keep up with the changing ways that people use social media to engage and connect. Staying relevant is a massive job.
Second, when working with influencers, take the time to research them and really dig deep into what they stand for, what their strengths are, and how they can add their own dynamism to the campaign and your message. It was wonderful working with Candice, Zola, Buhle, and LeAnne. They were a great fit for the brand and were obviously passionate about the subject. We leaned into their strengths and let them come up with their own content ideas linked to the overall campaign, rather than prescribing what they should post. This always gets better results; the content was authentic and invited women to have real, human conversations – with the influencers and each other.
Third, you have to be relatable. For this campaign, the memes performed much better than an advert would have because they depicted scenarios that we could all relate to as women.
Will you be expanding the campaign?
We’re quite excited about our plans for 2021. Now that we’ve owned the educational space, it makes sense to branch into other themes and formats, to give more women the comfort and protection they need to feel confident every day. I can’t give too much away, but it will be very different.