Sadly, it's something of a rarity to see examples of creativity in the world of print, especially when compared to the raft of nifty online gimmicks spewing forth. But ecostore, Special Group, Naked, Salt Interactive and ACP appear to be onto a winner with what they believe is a first: a mass-personalisation campaign that allows parents to make their child into a cover star on Little Treasures magazine. The crux of the campaign is to get parents—primarily mothers in this case—to say no to nasty chemicals that can be found in other products; to think about the kinds of things they're putting on their children's skin. To do this, Naked came up with the novel media strategy and Special Group created a microsite www.nonastychemicals.com, where 3,000 of the magazine's 20,000-ish subscribers were given the chance to upload a photo of their bundle of joy (check the gallery here). From there, a pdf-ready cover page is spat out and sent to the printers and a personalised copy of the June edition with the headline “I’m opting out of products that use nasty chemicals” turns up on the doorstep.
It's fairly complex technology (and obviously a big logistic challenge for ACP, which has the contract to publish the Treasures-owned mag), but it's been made into a simple user interface by Salt Interactive, who whipped it up in super quick time. As a result, it's proven extremely popular so far: 1000 people had uploaded their own covers in the first 24 hours, and it's close to 2000 in total now.
"When you become a parent it’s often a trigger for becoming more aware of the health and wellbeing of your family," ecostore's founder and chief executive Malcolm Rands says. "Through our involvement with chemist Sir Ray Avery, we know babies and children’s skin are far more susceptible to absorbing nasty chemicals than adults as they lack that layer of fatty acids that act as natural protection for the body."
Avery said at the recent rebranding event, where the new packaging and new strategy was announced, that ecostore isn't just a hippie cottage industry. Creating plant-based products that perform just as well as, if not better than, the products containing mysterious chemicals, is extremely smart science.
“We are noticing a huge increase in interest from our followers on Facebook and on our website, who not only want to know more and educate themselves more about the types of nasty chemicals they should be looking out for but also want to thank us for the work we are doing in this area,” says Rands.
He believes ecostore is leading the way with its approach to disclosure about its products on its website and on its labelling of its 100 plus products (although it had a bit of a hiccup last year when its PH levels were found to be inaccurate).
“We have nothing to hide in our products so why wouldn’t we tell customers exactly what is in them and importantly we think consumers have the right to know precisely what they are buying. We’d love to see Government legislate around disclosure requirements on labels for not only health, baby and beauty products but cleaning products also.”
Special Group's Michael Redwood says this idea is in line with trend of brand generosity, but the hard bit is finding something worthwhile to give back to consumers. It's also about having some fun, rather than being overly worthy or all doom and gloom, a trap that many sustainable, environmentally-focused brands seem to fall into (Method, with its detergent drinking CEO, is a good example of a similar brand that has succeeded in this regard).
"We're changing the game to some degree," Redwood says. "Ecostore has been perceived to be an environmentally responsible brand. But it's more about personal health."
And, in this case, the health of your children.
The website will be live till mid-June. And more new work will be coming out for the other categories (dish range and skincare) in the coming months.