Cannes Lions

Clearasil Teacher Truths


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Presentation Image






In order for teens to feel reassured by our reassurances, it had to come from the right people. So, who could best convince teens that their troubles, like acne, will end? Teachers. High-school teachers are experts on teenage problems, because they witness them year after year in their classrooms. Teens get through their problems and leave high school behind, but teachers stay forever. Not only does their job give them this unique point of view on adolescence, it also gives them countless hilarious and relatable examples of things that really do last forever. Things like reading the Scarlet Letter year after year. So we created a program called “Teacher Truths” that included a hero film and a scholarship contest for teens. In the film, real teachers shared their truths and called for teens to get their teachers to do the same. The campaign was released on Youtube and social media.


In alignment with our social-first strategy, we focused spend predominantly on social channels. We used YouTube to launch the program and had ongoing support from a teen influencer. We tapped into Facebook to extend reach and awareness of the platform, as well as to enable easy peer-to-peer sharing. The participation mechanism for the contest was a hashtag, so we knew that we’d have to ask for submissions on platforms where teens are more inclined to have their profiles set to public. With this in mind, teens had to enter on Instagram and Twitter, and we used these channels to drive on-platform participation. Our one non-social implementation was tapping into the top scholarship site for teens, in order to capture the attention of teens specifically seeking out scholarship contests.


As a challenger brand with a fraction of our competitor’s budgets, we had to outsmart, not outspend. This earned-media campaign was designed to do just that, leveraging influencers, social reach and user generated content to spread our message further than traditional media would be able to. In the span of just two weeks, we achieved 441.9 million earned impressions— 26% greater than projected. Teens were key to this success, with more than 2,600 teens entering the Teacher Truths contest by sharing their own teacher’s truth on social media. By using teens and their teachers to engage with our message, not only did we gain reach, but the authenticity of their messages helped our message break through, leading to a significant lift in ad recall (+7%) against our benchmark.

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