Soyoung Kang, CMO of eos, on How a Provocative Campaign Took Off

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Cover image for  article: Soyoung Kang, CMO of eos, on How a Provocative Campaign Took Off

Soyoung Kang is Chief Marketing Officer of eos Products and led the effort there to create the 2022 Super-REGGIE Award-winning campaign "Bless Your F*ing Cooch." Soyoung will also be speaking at the upcoming 2022 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference Oct 25-28 in Orlando. Her presentation is titled: "Evolving with Creativity." ANA Senior Vice President Mike Kaufman recently caught up with Kang (pictured at top) for a conversation on her REGGIE win.

(Editor's Note: The "Bless Your F*ing Cooch" campaign was inspired by a provocative TikTok video about how women could use eos shaving cream to shave their private parts without getting razor burn. eos's marketing executives and the company's ad agency, Mischief @ No Fixed Address, saw how quickly the video gained momentum among their target audience and decided to use it as the springboard for a campaign.)

Mike Kaufman: First let's address the elephant in the room -- was there ever any hesitation in using that headline? It's one thing in social media, but quite another for some of the many platforms where you took this campaign. Can you give us a peek behind the curtain on any internal concerns or discussions? Were there lawyers involved?

Soyoung Kang: Ha, no there were no lawyers involved, just intrepid marketers!  We didn't hesitate at all with the headline because we truly believed in this idea.  Once we had the creative, the reaction of every single person who saw it - from our CEO to the bottle producers -- was to laugh, so we knew it was magic.

Kaufman: EOS has been a real pioneer in using social/influencer for brand building, and this seems to be the culmination of that experience. What role did that experience play in creating this provocative, ground-breaking work?

Kang: When you have a long history with social media and influencer marketing, you embrace the value of speed, authenticity and attention-grabbing creativity.  With over a decade of experience in this space, eos is highly attuned to what it takes to cut through, and we knew right away that "Bless Your F*ing Cooch" could be big.

Kaufman: The spark was a great TikTok video by influence Carly Joy. When did you know you had "lightning in a bottle" as they say, and can you tell us more about how you made the decision and ran with it?

Kang: We were tagged in Carly Joy's original, organic endorsement very early on, and watched as her TikTok exploded with millions of views and engagements.  We knew immediately that we wanted to collaborate with her, but unfortunately, she ignored our initial outreach because we were getting lost in her DMs. Our next move was simply a desperate ploy for attention: we created the first batch of "Cooch Blessing Cream" so we could duet her video and get her to notice us.

Kaufman: Strong consumer insights are traditionally at the heart of a marketing success like this, yet influencer marketing can be anything but traditional. Was there a core consumer truth behind this work?

Kang: Absolutely! The core consumer truth is that shaving wherever you want and however you want is perfectly normal, but as a society, we have yet to normalize it.  And when grooming habits aren't discussed openly, unfortunately people don't know the best ways to tackle them. The top feedback we received from the campaign was that people were grateful for the clear and easy-to-follow educational content, written in very real-talk style.

Kaufman: The results are all out of proportion with the incredibly modest budget of under $500K. An extraordinary ROI I'm sure, and one that ANA members would surely appreciate. Any words of inspiration for them to take away when it comes to funding an effort like this?

Kang: I've always believed that unlimited creativity can triumph over limited budgets. For any other marketers out there, who are working with modest budgets, it is absolutely possible to drive an outsized ROI. The key is to get the fundamentals right in your 365 marketing, fuel a steady stream of test and learn initiatives, and make shifts to the bigger bets when you find something that works well for your brand.

Kaufman: "Agility" and "Speed" are often used (and over-used) terms these days in marketing, but one has to assume that was critical to your success. Did you have to "break" some rules at eos to make this happen, or were you ready given your prior experience?

Kang: I think we had to break every rule to make this happen, but that doesn't mean it was burdensome or improper to do so. We initiated the concept without first running it up the chain of command, then short-circuited our typical product development and supply chain processes so we could execute it within days, and then we had to skirt all the social media platforms' language rules.

Kaufman: Speaking of "Lightning in a Bottle", at what point did your thoughts turn to the REGGIES? Can you tell us a bit about the decision behind entering, what was behind it, and your own expectations? Was there any concern around the judging given the topic? Did you think the Super-REGGIE might be within reach?

Kang: I've always admired that the REGGIE Awards honor the work that works, because as marketers, our #1 job is growth. Every year, when I peruse the REGGIES-spotlighted work -- which masterfully achieves business impact in the most cut-through way -- I think to myself, that's rarified air.  We knew we had achieved something special with "Bless Your F*ing Cooch" given the business growth, but I never imagined that we could walk away with the Super REGGIE. It's truly one of the team's favorite highlights of the entire campaign!

Kaufman: And finally, what's the single piece of advice you would give to ANA members looking for breakthrough, Super-REGGIE worthy work like this?

Kang: While "Bless Your F*ing Cooch" might appear to be a specific moment in time, the reality is that none of it would have happened without being prepared to maximize the opportunity. So, getting the marketing fundamentals right – know your purpose, know your audience, know how to deploy your superpowers – all of this is critical to being ready and having the confidence to act quickly and fearlessly.

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