Case Study: How NIVEA MEN made an impact on Malaysian men

 Let’s face it, men don’t really always care about skincare, and sometimes, they are simply not even interested in the topic of it. While they are opinionated and competitive about many topics, discussing the benefits of a facial care regime isn’t one of them.

Knowing this, NIVEA MEN knew it had to find a way to matter to its target audience of 20 to 35-year-old lower to middle income males are too busy juggling their busy lives to care too much about personal grooming. Bucking the global rise in male skincare appreciation, only 60% of Malaysian men use facial cleansers and only sporadically in reaction to unsightly facial skin conditions such as sudden acne breakouts.

This attitude made securing repeat purchases difficult for NIVEA MEN as these users were ambivalent to brands, typically opting for the cheapest product as a quick fix. Therefore, the cheaper alternatives were often the default choice for most men.

This post was done in conjunction with MediaPrima.


So how did NIVEA stand out to get men’s attention? The marketing challenge was to grow the brand by ensuring it stood out in a very cluttered and aggressive market of men’s personal care products.

With a 17%  market share, NIVEA MEN remained behind Garnier Men (34.9%) and Men’s Biore (21.6%) who have lower price points by 20% to 35% and constantly resort to low prices and aggressive in-store promotions to maintain their market share.

Instead of defaulting to a price war to win over the competition, the following objectives were set out:

  • Narrow the market share gap with competitors to drive market share to 18%.
  • Set record sales for a new product launch to create standout over competitor’s in-store tactics by delivering new product sales of plus 1000% during the launch of its new products.
  • Create brand affinity with men, increasing audience engagement against established benchmarks:
    1. Increasing Facebook fans by 3,500.
    2. Digital impressions over 4.5 million.
    3. Social actions: 100,000.


It was general consensus that Malaysian males just weren’t interested in skincare conversations or advertising. Instead the target audience was passionate aboutactivities such as sports as this brought out their natural competitive side.

Shift the dialogue to sports and every man will want to get in on the chatter and share their opinions whether anyone wants to hear them or not. Therefore, creating a turf war over sports was the perfect common ground to encourage men to seek and share stories, inspire each other, while fostering a spirit of brotherhood.

Fuelled by this insight, NIVEA’s strategy was simple: Disguise a conversation about skincare with a conversation about sports.

Armed with a strong strategy to create conversations around skincare through sports, NIVEA MEN asked Malaysian men to bring their best game forward. And what better sport to start a turf war and bring out their competitive streak – football. Almost all Malaysian men would have had some experience with the glorious game whether playing, watching or betting on it.

Although many would typically see both topics to be polar opposites on the machometre, there was a very obvious connection: confidence. The more you care for your skin, the better you look. The better you look, the more confident you feel. The more confident you feel … the better your chances of “scoring”. Case in point? Cristiano Ronaldo.

But NIVEA MEN didn’t want to be just like any other brand sponsoring the big teams and players. To ensure that it stood out in the cluttered world of football marketing, it deployed a unique creative idea to disrupt the playing field – create a turf war between the local grass roots football teams.


The creative concept was called “MYPadang”, a Malaysian term for neighbourhood football. The idea was built around the belief that men naturally go all out to defend what is theirs. With this, NIVEA MEN sought to champion neighbourhood teams and their local football fields.

The campaign kicked off with a digital film hosted by TV presenters Hafiz Hatim and Hazeeq Husni, focusing on the brotherhood and pride when defending one’s padang. Subsequently, CTA videos were issued by members of the Malaysian National Football team, inviting grass roots players to participate.

These ran as pre-roll ads on YouTube and video skins on popular football websites such as,, and Viewers were directed to the MYPadang Facebook app to sign-up for the tournament (and learn about NIVEA MEN). They had to submit UGC videos of their team and stories about their padang. Facebook posts and sponsored ads further amplified the campaign.

In-store, impactful point-of-sale materials and mini retail football tournaments encouraged teams to sign-up, sample products and engage with the brand. Harimau Malaysia members appeared in-store to surprise shoppers and drive PR for the brand. Ultimately, two teams (out of fifty) made it to the finals, training under the guidance of legendary Malaysian footballers and members of Harimau Malaysia.

Players were given a NIVEA MEN makeover to get them camera-ready for the finals, which aired as branded content during Media Prima’s Gila Bola! Segment, Fox Sport’s airing of the Suzuki Cup, and even during the Malaysian Super League and FA Cup on national TV. The winners received cash prizes, products and the bragging rights as MYPadang champions.

The platform saw great success, and recently completed its third season with members of the Harimau Malaysia squad fully mentoring local teams, making MyPadang a thriving platform that will continue to grow.


The campaign was a massive success with the brand breaking previous campaign records:

  • NIVEA MEN achieved its highest ever-recorded market share, with value of sales increasing by nearly 20% YOY.
  • Audience engagement scores reached new highs as well:
    1. Facebook fans jumped by 63,115, an increase of 25% from previous campaigns.
    2. Digital impressions topped out at 5.4 million, 20% more than before.
    3. More than 500,000 daily page engagements on the NIVEA MEN’s Facebook page.
    4. MYPadang social content was liked or shared 119,8545 times across all social media, a 46.4% lift from past efforts.

And, most importantly, NIVEA MEN was able to disrupt the competition and take over the No.2 spot in market share, while key competitors either stagnated or declined. By creating a “turf war” and not a price war, NIVEA MEN levelled the playing field and gave Malaysian males the opportunity to take their football aspirations to a whole new level.