When you are a mid-major school you should always look to be disruptive and fast and unique when it comes to partnerships. While it is always great to be part of bigger national deals while also taking care of the hyper local ones, what are the categories that can fulfill a need and maybe generate buzz for a partner that may be a little nontraditional.
Two schools, Columbia and The Citadel, found a category through the folks at Collegiate Sports Management Group that speaks directly to a student need and can be a little fun in the process: shaving cream.
Now Barbasol and Pure Silk are not the biggest players in the shaving cream category and they have looked to the college market for a while, but they do have great recognition amongst the consumer. What they needed was a platform to go direct to a growing audience, male and female millennials, and speak to and engage with them regularly right where they live. So why not college, and why not pick to unique spots, the Upper West Side of Manhattan and a storied institution with a Corps of Cadets in the South? It represents a great litmus test, and a cost effective one, to see what can be done and if there can be some ROI generated, as well as some exposure.
Columbia, as an Ivy League school in a major market offered is relatively regional, offering a role in the community by increasing connection through digital, social and mobile media. More importantly for the brand, nearly 50% of the students and staff are multi-cultural. The Citadel offered a much more traditional, but clean shaven opportunity to engage not just with athletes, but with an active student body that may not all attend intercollegiate athletic events, but will be involved in some form of physical activity throughout the semester.
The ability for Barbasol and Pure Silk to engage with students through sampling, promotions and social media not just at football, basketball and baseball and softball games (keep in mind it is a play for both men and women) but in an active on campus facility where there are daily workouts and intermural activity was key, since shaving may not be top of mind when watching a game in stadium all the time. That constant presence especially at a school where intercollegiate athletics is important but not essential, is key to success.
Then there is the social opportunity for the schools. The ability to run promotions with product, get the product in the hands of students in and across campus and come up with their own video driven “close shave” campaigns makes the partnership fun, expandable and relevant.
With college students reliance on care products and specifically shaving cream products, this is a smart program destined to grow not by its big media spend, but by its grassroots potential.
Well played in Charleston and the Upper West Side.