Radiant: The Fight to the Top Gets Dirty


Radiant Return

So what does it take to win the Adnews Advertising Campaign of the Year, 2014? Well, it includes:

  • Multiple media channels
  • Qualitative market research
  • Turning traditional segment messaging on its head
  • Humour
  • Regular people
  • Getting one up on the system
  • Engaging relevant social influencers
  • Affecting consumer behaviour
  • Increased sales penetration
  • Outstanding category social engagement

It’s a big list. But one that was necessary to not only take out the title, but to prevent Radiant laundry detergent being de-listed. From their heyday as category leader, by 2014 the outlook was grim for Radiant. They were facing stiff competition, lack of brand loyalty and consumers who were weary of hearing about stain removal.

Parent company Cussons tasked Melbourne based agency DDB with turning the flailing Radiant brand around. DDB wisely conducted extensive qualitative research – they knew it was going to take more than just a standard advertising campaign to save the brand.

Qualitative Market Research – The Eye Opening Results

DDB’s research showed consumers viewed laundry detergent advertising as ‘deathly boring,’ ‘patronising to women,’and ‘stale and predictable.’ They knew they had to move the campaign away from the typical lab stain removal tests and immerse the concept in people’s day to day lives. Radiant had also previously trialled, and failed at, emotional advertising.

The focus was to be on Radiant’s colour protection, rather than stain removal. DDB’s research indicated consumer’s care about their clothes and get an adrenalin rush at the time of purchase. Consumers also wish their clothes would stay as nice as when they are brand new. This tied in perfectly with Radiant’s new ‘colour guard’protection as it allowed the advertisers to focus on keeping that new feeling. The light bulb moment came when a copywriter uncovered the fact that most people have tried to return a used garment.

Advertising goal: engage audience by moving laundry detergent from category to culture.

Marketing goal: regain Radiant’s number 1 position in the market, drive sales through new ‘colour guard, no sort’detergent.


Radiant Return: The Concept Comes Alive

The Advertising Goal can be further broken down using the AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) framework:

Attention: Radiant Return. A series of 13 successful attempts to return used garments that had been washed with Radiant detergent.

Interest: Was it really possible to dupe unsuspecting retail assistants into accepting used garments?

Desire: Consumers want their clothes to stay that fresh and clean.

Action: To go out and purchase Radiant.

Further research was undertaken to validate the concept prior to channel distribution as DDB needed to ensure this novel approach would appeal to consumers. It was well received and so it was time to launch the campaign. But where?

TVC, Social Media, Radio and Magazines Oh My!

One of the challenges faced by marketers today is to decide where to market their product. As Australia Post’s GM of Communication Management Services Tracy Fellows believes, “For customers, it’s all about choice. If you are not currently using a multichannel marketing mix, you could be missing out on an opportunity to connect with different target audiences on the path to purchase.” It is not smart marketing to only select one type of media, yet at the same time it is not always the most sound decision to flood every type of media. It needs to be in line with the company’s overarching strategy (Iacobucci, 2014).

Despite the market research showing laundry detergent commercials are thought to be patronising to women, women are still the target market when it comes to consumers. This needed to be considered when selecting the relevant channels and so it was decided to have influential mum bloggers review the product and run an adjunct competition.

A complex media strategy was implemented to maximise engagement across various channels:

  • a campaign website www.radiantreturn.com.au
  • a Radiant YouTube channel
  • a 30sec TVC to generate broad reach and entice people online
  • standard and interactive banner ads leading to the content
  • video and social seeding
  • Facebook posts and ads
  • social seeding with well-known mum bloggers

The Results are In….

For Cussons, the success of the campaign centred around increasing sales and market penetration. Luckily for them, the results could be quantified as the same scanner data that allow marketers to run experiments in stores on price points are also used to assess ads in the marketplace (Iacobucci, 2014).

As a result of the campaign Radiant has not only become the fastest growing laundry brand in the country, up 27% vs last year, but has reversed the negative trend with regards to household penetration. The first month of the campaign saw a staggering 81,000 new households using Radiant laundry detergent.

Aside from sales, the success of this campaign drove social engagement to record highs – 8.7 times more than FMCG standards and almost 1million video views in the first few weeks.

The question now is how Radiant will maintain their position and continue to appeal to consumers in a generally dry segment?

Lyndall Boardman 214418665


Carswell, A. (2014) Marketers Need to Keep Channel Mix Anchored in the Present, https://www.marketingmag.com.au/news-c/marketers-need-to-keep-channel-mix-anchored-in-the-present/#.VEnCyd7y9S9

Iacobucci, D. ( 2014) Marketing Management (MM4), South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason

Marketing Magazine. (2015) Filthy Tricksters: Radiant’s Refreshing Campaign, https://www.marketingmag.com.au/hubs-c/filthy-tricksters-radiants-refreshing-campaign/

Radiant Laundry http://www.radiantlaundry.com.au/ [Accessed: 3 May 2016].

Radiant Australia. (2014). Radiant Presents: Radiant Return . [Online Video]. 6 June 2014. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNR_Mz3o8as. [Accessed: 3 May 2016].





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