Holland & Barrett readies snail gel campaign

Holland & Barrett is readying a marketing push for a snail gel, an anti-ageing and moisturising product it hopes will stand out from other beauty ads and make consumers reappraise the retailer and the variety of products they believe it sells in store.

Holland and Barrett

The push, planned for late November and created by RKCR/Y&R, will continue Holland & Barrett’s recent “The Good Life” animated animals marketing theme and will introduce a more “playful” tone with new mole character who scours the globe looking for new products. It will appear across TV, press and digital.

Lysa Hardy, CMO at Holland & Barrett owner NBTY Europe, told Marketing Week it is hoped the creative framework can be continued for other stand-out ranges if this campaign proves to be effective.

The launch of the snail gel activity is particularly timely given that there has been a lot of press recently about Japanese snail facials arriving to the UK, Hardy says. She admits that many consumers may recoil when they first think of using a product derived from snails, but that helps the brand leverage “playful” ad copy and will encourage viewers to research the gel.

It is hoped by focusing on a beauty product, rather than the vitamins and supplements Holland & Barrett is famed for, consumers will become more aware of the other ranges it sells in store and begin to “question” the products they habitually buy, Hardy says.

She adds: “I feel the best brands have a meaning, it’s very easy to do the design aspect of branding, but it’s the brands that have a meaning that hold out. We’ve been through particularly tough times [as an industry] and the brands that survived are those that stood for something for people.

“That’s especially so in the space we are in. We have a lot of quite diverse customer sets, but the one thing that unites our customers is that they are people that care about what they are buying, what happens to the world and that we have the responsibility to play a part.

Although Holland & Barrett’s beauty range is its smallest category by revenue, it is the retailer’s fastest growing – up 30 per cent year on year, while other categories were only marking a single digit growth.

Hardy says this is a combination of new products and more space in store devoted to beauty.

Last month Holland & Barrett introduced former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt’s Beautiful Movements makeup range into stores, marking the first time the retailer had used a brand ambassador since it parted ways with TV presenter Gethin Jones late last year.

Hardy says Wyatt is not a “replacement” for Jones, but that Holland & Barrett is now looking to use ambassadors for different product lines – such as food, sports and vitamins – rather than using one partner across the whole business, particularly given the diverse range of customers the retailer attracts.

NBTY’s European retail division increased sales by 8.6 per cent year on year to $191.2m in the three months to 30 June 2013. It attributed the growth to successful promotional activity and additional 27 stores opened during the period.