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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Burt's Bees' "Brighten Your Calendar"

Entered in Most Creative Use of Technology


Burt's Bees did the unthinkable when it created an effective, all-natural line of beauty products that brighten and even skin tone. The key word is "unthinkable." Because, no matter how much women wanted to find a natural brightening beauty line that actually worked, years of the beauty category's underwhelming promises made them much too skeptical to believe one existed.

To truly bring their new Brightening line to life, Burt's Bees needed to communicate the effectiveness story without the conventional onslaught of clinical claims and infomercialized advertising. The challenge was to introduce Brightening to women in a way that felt powerful and personal, but still playful.

So we created the first-ever campaign to leverage people's personal calendars. We served up delightful daily reminders that demonstrated Brightening's 8-week regimen in a way no other media channel could. The result was an entirely new use of an old media channel—a tactic that tapped into a deep-seated attitude of the Burt's Bees audience, redefining the social relationship that a brand can create with its consumers.

Strategy and Execution

At the start, Burt's Bees set out to launch their Brightening line of anti-aging products through traditional social media channels. It made sense. After all, consumers still perceived recommendations from friends and family as the most credible source of information, an especially important distinction within a category of products that has historically come with a healthy dose of consumer skepticism.

However, throughout our early research stages and social listening, it quickly became clear that most women didn't want to broadcast their use of anti-aging products to the world via social media. (Understandably so.) While the testimonials for these Brightening products continued to pour in with rave reviews, they mostly came through email, scored ratings, and anonymous reviews on Burt's Bees ecommerce sites. Traditional channels just wouldn't be conducive to consumer behaviors.

The solution?

It all started with a simple email to the many Burt's Bees email subscribers, asking for permission to brighten up the next 8 weeks of their lives. Those that accepted allowed Burt's Bees to pollinate their personal calendars with 8 quirky meetings designed to surprise and delight them when they'd least expect it—like an important reminder on Wednesday morning entitled "Sleep In," or an urgent meeting on Friday to remind themselves of their beautimousness. There were eight calendar meetings in all, one for each week of the Brightening regimen. At the end of the campaign, Burt's Bees reminded these women that they could've had brighter skin if they'd begun the Brightening regimen 8 weeks ago, and Burt's Bees included a coupon to help get them started.

Despite the fact that the Brighten Your Calendar campaign targeted more direct, personal engagement over wider, broadcast social channels, the word-of-mouth impact far exceeded expectations. The campaign generated over 4.5 million PR impressions, achieved 37 times the engagement of an average Burt's Bees social post, and launched an entirely new advertising channel in the process. The New York Times even dubbed it a "marketing first"—all of which seemed rather fitting for a line of natural beauty products designed for maximizing results.


Video for Burt's Bees' "Brighten Your Calendar"

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Burt's Bees (brand), Baldwin& (creative agency)

Entry Credits