Since hitting shelves just six years ago, WaterWipes has been shaking up the wet wipe market with its purity-focused offering for new-borns. Fresh from impressively dominating the Irish market (beating out industry giants like Johnson & Johnson), the ambitious challenger brand now has its sights firmly set on conquering the rest of the world. To help it achieve this mission, the brand picked the perfect partner: Irish creative agency DDFH&B.
Recently, WaterWipes launched its first ever landmark sponsorship of BAFTA-winning documentary One Born Every Minute. Here, DDFH&B’s Head of Creative, Roisin Keown, and WaterWipes’ Marketing Director Rachel Kelly reveal the ins and outs of their decision to eschew genre convention and create a campaign that recognises the full range of experiences of new parenthood.
Rachel Kelly (left) and Roisin Keown (right)
LBB> What’s the story behind WaterWipes?
Rachel Kelly, Marketing Director at WaterWipes> The founder of WaterWipes, Edward McCloskey, developed the product after his first daughter was born. She suffered from severe nappy rash and when he looked on the back of the pack of the wipes he was using on her, he was amazed to see how many chemicals were in a product that was supposed to be suitable for young babies’ skin. He spent the next five years in R&D to develop the world’s first and still only chemical free baby wipe.
LBB> As a fast-rising brand, what did you want to achieve in this official brand launch?
Rachel, WaterWipes> The association with One Born Every Minute was a huge coup for us. The fit couldn’t be more perfect. It is the iconic programme for new or expecting parents because of how honestly it portrays their stories, and we are the definitive wipe for the new-born months because we are free from anything artificial.
We set out to achieve three things: firstly, to establish WaterWipes as a serious and credible player - a new but trustworthy brand. Secondly, to clearly distinguish ourselves as different to the established competition. And lastly, to continue to be the brand that best understands the needs of those new-born months.
LBB> How did the concept for the One Born Every Minute campaign come about?
Roisin Keown, Head of Creative at DDFH&B> The stings were all about identifying those universal moments around the birth journey and reassuring new parents that they’re not alone. As the title, “With you from here”, references, we wanted to communicate understanding and support, even in those moments of uncertainty that are shared by every new parent.
LBB> Advertising for new parents and newborns tends to be dominated by clean-cut, highly-idealised scenes of perfect parents and babies, so your One Born Every Minute stings feel like a breath a fresh air with their honest and relatable moments. Why did you decide to break from genre traditions?
Roisin, DDFH&B> Well, there’s usually little value in working within genre traditions if you want to be distinctive! With WaterWipes, we’re a “David” brand taking on the might of the “Goliath” established multi-nationals. We wanted to be as distinctive from them in our communications and approach as the wipes themselves are in their category - free from anything artificial.
LBB> What inspired you to opt for a first-person, documentary-style approach, and why was this right for WaterWipes’ sponsorship of One Born?
Roisin, DDFH&B> One Born has set a pretty high bar! It’s an iconic programme that really is warts and all (and often more than warts), and has a very clear “fixed rig” documentary style. We wanted the stings to be complementary to the programme but different in style, so we chose to bring to life the moments just before and after the One Born timeline. Parents are their own filmmakers at these times – we all dug into our personal trove of home videos for reference.
LBB> The natural performances bring a genuine charm to the stings. How involved was DDFH&B in the casting and shoot? Can you tell me more about how the settings and mood came about?
Roisin, DDFH&B> We were fortunate to work with a great team at HLA and director John Hardwick, who has a super feel for casting and performance. Equally, we had a clear vision of what stories we needed to tell to be credible and affecting. It was a really rewarding collaboration right through from casting to the shoot and it definitely shows in the finished films.
LBB> How did you aim to establish WaterWipes’ unique voice in a saturated market?
Roisin, DDFH&B> Fortunately, WaterWipes is a product with a genuinely unique selling proposition, so we put a lot of work into identifying a suitably unique tone of voice. It had to be authentic and rise above the category clichés to resonate with parents with true and recognisable insights as a peer. It was about finding the right balance and saying, “We get it. We’re with you, shoulder to shoulder”, without ever being patronising or pushing an idea of perfection.
LBB> Did you come up against any surprises or challenges?
Roisin, DDFH&B> Tight timelines were our biggest challenge. Due to the timing of the sponsorship signing, we only had four weeks between receiving the brief and the 24 stings being on air. So, we were thrilled that it all went so smoothly. We were lucky with the calibre of performers – not least, some very well-behaved, quiet babies!
LBB> How would you describe your creative relationship?
Roisin, DDFH&B> Extremely rewarding. There is great mutual respect and communication. Rachel and her team really understand the value of advertising and creative communications, so there’s a great deal of support. We share a vision for the brand and the type of work that will raise the brand apart, we challenge each other, and for our part, we’re excited about the potential of the brand and its future development.
Rachel, WaterWipes> We were looking for a long-term partner to help us tell our unique WaterWipes story and to go on a journey with us. We knew very quickly that the team at DDFH&B shared a passion for being brave and doing things differently but they also shared a deep respect for our consumers and fundamentally believed, as do we, that new mums and dads deserve to be spoken to with respect, compassion, and understanding.
LBB> How have the stings been received by the public, and how successful have they been?
Roisin, DDFH&B> Everything we’re seeing and hearing confirms that our decision to tell consumer stories in as authentic a way as possible was the right one. The campaign is provoking lots of comment and has driven a huge increase in social and web traffic. Website traffic, in particular, increased by a whopping 120% on Tuesdays after One Born episodes aired. Audience engagement on that level is the ultimate endorsement.
Rachel, WaterWipes> The stings have been super successful and the results speak for themselves. They’ve reached two million women aged 16-34 at an average of eight times with the campaign. April saw the number of Amazon searches for WaterWipes go through the roof and, most importantly, we’ve had the highest ever weekly sales. We’ve seen significant sales uplift across all retail, for example, sales of single packs in Boots during One Born Every Minute increased by 24%.
LBB> Did you expect such success?
Roisin, DDFH&B> We knew it was a great fit so, if anything, the task was to do that justice. However, we couldn’t have expected such an immediate and huge engagement with the stories – the public has really responded to our decision to allow the viewer to follow the couples’ “journey” with each programme. Beyond that, there’s the business results. We had high ambitions but it’s been phenomenal.
LBB> What can we look forward to seeing next from WaterWipes and DDFH&B?
Rachel, WaterWipes> We are now selling WaterWipes in over 25 countries around the world - from the US and Australia to China later this year, and many other exciting new markets. Our laser-sharp focus has been to firstly deeply understand the consumer in each market, the culture of mothering in that market, and then to figure out how best to tie up our brand with the needs of parents in that culture.
Roisin, DDFH&B> We’re constantly working on the next thing. There are new customers being born every day, so we will keep building WaterWipes’ story - not just in the UK and Ireland, but globally and particularly the U.S. - and connecting with new Mums as the brand that understands them best.