Digital PR Awards: Twitter Communications

Winner: Marina Maher Communications - Head & Shoulders "Season of the #Whiff"

Striking out is probably the last thing you’d want to associate with a product launch. But when Head & Shoulders, the official shampoo of Major League Baseball (MLB), introduced Head & Shoulders with Old Spice at the start of the 2013 baseball season, it embraced strikeouts as a major opportunity.

As the season kicked off, influential media, including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, projected an MLB-wide increase in strikeouts. That turned out to be serendipitous for the agile Head & Shoulders/Marina Maher team, which was looking for just the right opportunity to launch a new scent-focused campaign. They seized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage “whiffs,” which means both scent and strikeouts, and developed the “Season of the #Whiff” word-of-mouth campaign that linked its new scent-based product with America’s favorite pastime.

The brand signed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim All-Star pitcher C.J. Wilson, a top-ten MLB “whiff” ace, as a spokesperson and encouraged fans to use the #Whiff hashtag along with their team's Twitter handle each time a pitcher struck out an opponent.

The “Season of the #Whiff” campaign intrinsically linked Head & Shoulders to baseball, further solidifying the brand’s partnership with Major League Baseball and contributing to sales 20% above the brand’s original forecast.

All 30 MLB clubs across the country participated in the campaign, and there were more than 2 billion Twitter impressions for the #whiff hashtag. On August 22, 2013 #Whiff was the #5 trending hashtag in the U.S.

Additional campaign results include the #Whiff hashtag receiving 2,690,751 tweets and 212,956 contributors and a 489% increase in @HSforMen Twitter page followers throughout the entire campaign. More than 1 billion earned media impressions were generated for the campaign, featuring coverage in national grooming and sports media, including Yahoo! Sports Radio, ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” NBC Sports Network,, Men’s Health, FOX Sports Radio, and “The Dan Patrick Show."

Honorable Mentions:

·               451 Marketing - America's Most "Liked" Candle

·               APCO Worldwide - IKEA Brighter Lives for Refugees: the One Night Without Lights Social Media Challenge

·               Citizen Relations for Procter & Gamble - Dreft Announces The Arrival Of A Little Star On Twitter

·               Esurance - #EsuranceSave30

·               Meet Minneapolis & Spong - #askMPLS

·               RF|Binder on behalf of Truvia brand, Cargill Inc. - Lydia Should Have Switched to Truvia: A Case for Real-Time Content Marketing