Friso Singapore takes a dump on marketing clutter with 'poop' talk

The marketing and advertising industry is getting increasingly cluttered. According to a recent Forrester report, marketing message volume is forecasted to increase by 40% in the B2C sector. With the increased competition for a share of voice, brands have been made to think out of the box and deliver their marketing messages in an engaging manner. FrieslandCampina’s formula milk brand, Friso, has set out to achieve it with an unprecedented move of placing fecal matter right at the heart of its marketing campaign.

Titled “Good poop matters, baby!”, the nationwide campaign aimed to use the topic of faeces (or “poop”) to educate and empower parents to help their children achieve good gut health.

As part of the campaign, Friso launched Singapore’s first-ever “Good Poop Advisory Panel”, which aimed to draw attention to the importance of good gut health in young children. Launched in line World Digestive Health Day 2020, the Friso Good Poop Advisory Panel was helmed by David Naidu, FrieslandCampina Singapore’s general manager, with guest experts invited throughout the year to share their insights around good digestion. These include pediatricians and a dietitian. Through editorial interviews, infographics and social videos, the panel was able to equip parents with useful knowledge about child gut health and how to help their children achieve good poop.

In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Naidu said the brand decided to focus on spreading its messaging through conversations around poop due to what it found via active social listening. While 86% of parents in Singapore recognised that digestion is key to their child’s optimal growth and development, Friso learned that parents tend to engage in discussions on the topic of digestion only when they have concerns about the physical manifestations of poor digestion: constipation, sensitive stomachs and general signs of abdominal discomfort. The brand then saw an opportunity to encourage parents to get more proactive about their child’s digestion and gut health, rather than simply react to the symptoms of poor digestion.

However, Friso’s faced the challenge of turning the dry topic of gut health into one that is fun and easy for parents to digest. “We knew that we had to find a different way to get the conversation started on this extremely important topic, as good digestion is key in ensuring that essential nutrients are getting absorbed to support the growth and development of children,” Naidu said.  Thus, together with its agency partner Omnicom Public Relations Group, Friso decided to start with the “end product” in mind, focusing instead on advocating for “good poop” for the campaign.

The focus on good poop was also chosen due to the light-hearted tone it sets for the campaign.

Since the campaign was launched in the middle of a pandemic, where parents are under tremendous pressure and stress, Friso wanted to use humour to cut through the cutter of serious news and deliver the important message of gut health.

The campaign was targeted at Millennial mothers in Singapore with children above the age of 12- months who were considering switching to formula milk as the sole or supplementary source of nutrition for their child. According to Naidu, this is a segment of the market that is hyper-competitive, and it is imperative for a brand to continually find ways to connect with their audience that go beyond the functional benefits of the product.

In addition to the advisory panel, Friso also designed and released a specially curated sticker pack. Based on the Bristol Stool Chart, this was said to be a light-hearted way to not only educate but also get parents to continue conversations about all things related to their child’s poop over text or simply as a fun way to describe different types of poop. This came as the brand noticed an increased preference of parents today to spend more time having conversations on closed group chats rather than open forums.

Friso also found it important to entertain its target audience while educating them. Hence, it sent “Friso good poop officer kits” to a group of “mum-fluencers”. The kits aimed to invite parents to appoint their household’s very own “good poop officer”, to further encourage conversations around digestion, Naidu said.

friso good poop officer starter kit content

The campaign seemingly resonated well with its audience, with Friso’s earned media campaign achieving a total of 24 organic media stories and an estimated 18.3 million in impressions. “At its heart, the campaign’s humorous content and messages were highly relevant and struck a chord with Singaporean parents, and this was instrumental in letting the campaign gain the traction it needed to emphasise that good digestion and good poop matter,” Naidu added.

The “Friso good poop officer kits” created for the “mum-fluencers” also saw positive engagement with their followers. Meanwhile, the brand saw its social mentions having a positive shift from the more “transactional” properties of infant nutrition (such as weight or sales bundle) to broader associations with gut health and good digestion.

On a wider scale, Friso saw coverage of its campaign in various publications such as CNA (TV), CNA938 and Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao. It achieved close to 150 earned stories on traditional and social media focusing on the importance of good poop in young children. In addition, the campaign generated wide reach, amassing over 19 million impressions and more than 11,500 engagements on social media. Most recently, Friso’s “Good poop matters, baby!” campaign also bagged the bronze award for the category of “Excellence in communications/public relations” for this year’s Marketing Excellence Awards hosted by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.

“The success of this campaign highlights the importance of pinpointing an insight that resonates with the intended target audience, and the necessity of good engaging content to drive conversations organically for all our campaigns moving forward,” Naidu said. He added that advocating good digestion in children is a long-term mission for the brand, and it will be coming up with more activities around the topic in time to come.  

In FrieslandCampina's financial report earlier in July, it is stated that the company's total revenue stayed the same amidst the effects that COVID-19 brought. It also saw a shift from its profitable out-of-home segment, where revenue mostly fell away, to sales growth for basic dairy products where prices and profit margins dropped significantly due to the pandemic. Additionally, its Friso brand achieved sales growth in the China market with Friso Prestige. The company attributed its resolution of the lactoferrin shortage faced in 2019 and the launch of its eCommerce channel in the China market that enabled the brand to improve its market position. 

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