SMART AD-WATCH – Olay tells Chinese Women to “Wash” the Stress Away


In a new campaign, aimed at young professional women in China, Olay suggest that the product is part of an attitude that can keep you “fresh’ despite all the pressures on modern life.

The TVC, also broadcast online through Tencent Video, is narrated by a young professional women, who is inundated with stress – from people around her, her environment, but also her own expectations of herself.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.46.23 AM

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.46.46 AMScreen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.47.15 AM

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 11.09.01 AM

As she recounts all the the negative emotions she endures each day, the words appears like tattoos on her skin, and accumulate during the day.  But towards the end of the narration, she realises that those are the expectations and opinions of others, and do not represent her personality or attitude to life.

As a result, she is able to use showering as an ’emotional and psychological cleansing’ – that refreshes her, and reminds her of the energy of being young.   The product and brand come in as an ‘enabler’ to remind and rejuvenate her for each fresh day of challenges.

The message is not to “sleep” and “not to get lost”, to take a shower each day, and reboot.

Have a look at the campaign below, and then I will let you know why it is good, but not so good at the same time.


Good or Bad – The SMART Verdict

Good it is talking to a powerful social trend at the moment, the independence of Chinese women, the idea that they increasingly demand to define their own standards, rather than being forced or told to conform by culture or people around them – read more from SMART@Resonance about this here.

Not so good – it feels that the role of the product has not be thought about strategically enough.  Supporting young professional women in inherently good, but how the product does this is not credibly communicated.  The key narrative link of “washing away stress” needed to be a stronger part of the story.

Having recently interviewed young professionals here in Shanghai, and they are certainly starting to feel that the ‘product as hero’ is being a little too simplistic and over-communicated.

About Author

Jerry Clode

Jerry Clode is Head of Digital & Social Insight at Resonance. He leads Resonance SMART, providing leading-edge research, strategy and naming for brands in China using bespoke methodologies. Jerry also produces Resonance's popular China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly publication covering modern marketing methods of the world's top brands.

Leave A Reply

Get Digital Insights on Demand

Join over 21,000 subscribers and receive fresh insights from the front lines of digital, mobile, ecommerce and socal media in China. Subscribe today and receive new content every week.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest