Focus group studies show that the target audience of men 18–25 years old are reluctant to accept commercial messages about skincare as this is a topic about which they generally don’t care. A hard-sell wouldn’t work; instead, any communications aiming to engage this tough-to-reach audience would have to be subtle.

We built our core strategy around a key insight from our research: that young men who do use skincare products often do so based on the recommendations of their romantic partner or friends.

Rather than trying to convince ambivalent young men about the importance of skincare, we decided to direct our message towards their romantic partners and friends given their role as the key influencers who advise the young men on what to buy, or simply buy it for them.

If we could get through to the girlfriends (and friends), it would be an important step in getting through to the young men in need of skincare intervention.

The inspiration for our campaign concept came from the popular “Shit that girls say” internet meme, which uses humour to point out the silliness of the stereotypical things that some women say. However, we turned this meme on its head and used it from the POV of the women.

As a twist on this parody, we decided to highlight the absurdity of the arguments used by young men to explain why they don’t use or need skincare products.

Our creative rationale was that by using this humorous approach, we could illustrate how preposterous and ignorant these arguments are and gently poke fun at the young men who use them, in a light-hearted way. With this approach, we would be able to showcase the benefits of Garnier’s AcnoFight skincare products without relying on hard-sell messaging.

In keeping with the light-hearted approach, we named the campaign “#MyLehFehIdol” (“leh feh” is Cantonese slang for “untidy”) as the campaign execution involved romantic partners and friends of young men nominating them in a good-humoured way as their “leh feh idol”—in other words: this is my messy friend, who thinks he doesn’t need to take care of his skin.

We chose to execute the campaign via social media because our target audience are active social media users, thus boosting the potential for broad and meaningful engagement. As Facebook has the highest penetration among social networks in Hong Kong, we ran the contest via the Garnier Hong Kong Facebook page, and partnered with popular Youtubers FH Production.

We launched the campaign with a post on the Garnier Hong Kong Facebook page featuring the #MyLehFehIdol video and details about the contest. The video was also posted on the Garnier Hong Kong YouTube account and the FH Production YouTube account to drive traffic to the campaign announcement post on Facebook.

To further increase awareness, we worked with leaders of student organisations at 9 Hong Kong universities to promote the campaign among their members via social media.

The #MyLehFehIdol video clearly highlighted the ignorant things that young men say about skincare and reminded them of the increased appeal of those who take care of their skin. The contest participants greatly bolstered this message by sharing their own witty examples of “leh feh” friends.

By partnering with FH Production in creating the campaign video, we reinforced the image of Garnier Men as unconventional and hip by working with such an edgy key online influencer. At the same time, the humorous nature of the video showed that the brand does not take itself too seriously. The campaign resonated strongly with the target audience. This is clearly reflected in the campaign statistics:

total impressions
video views
contest participants

These results are the culmination of a campaign that used the broad reach and audience engagement capabilities of social media to full effect, leveraging key opinion leaders to deliver a fresh, unexpected message that was on brand and aligned with the key objectives.