It's Not Your Grandmother's Pine-Sol

The Challenge

Pine-Sol is an 89-year-old brand. In 1990, Clorox acquired the brand and launched a national ad campaign, the Pine-Sol lady. It is No. 1 in the category but the category itself was declining with consumers moving to more convenient cleaning products. 

Gen Y was moving into the young-family life stage with kids under 12 and lots of messes. But consumers see Pine-Sol as a product for their mom or grandmom. Sacha Connor, director of marketing for Clorox, told MediaPost’s Marketing:CPG conference in September 2018 that her team had to think about how to reframe its message, from functional to something more human-centric and purpose-driven. It started with a brand purpose: It champions the heart and hustle of “doers.” (Here’s a link to the video presentation.)

The goal was relevancy, and the insight was around the Saturday clean that still happens. Around 90% of people will say music can make cleaning more enjoyable. And, there are YouTube clips catching cleaners dancing to music. This led Connor’s team to develop a brand campaign with FCB, “Clean Your Way,” celebrating the unique ways “doers” clean. 

Clorox went one step farther to actually engage with its consumer instead of having one-way conversations. It wanted to engage the Millennial. It experimented with tapping into influencers and making them partners. With YouTube, the approach was different. It wasn’t a one-shot deal: Take the content and repurpose it.

The Execution

Step 1 was identifying talent to make sure they were a good fit with the brand. Clorox looked at the number of subscribers to their YouTube videos and whether that number was increasing. Were they a fit with the key demographic, with a multicultural brand. Could they dance? With the help of FCB, they found their top couple. But when they saw it was Pine-Sol, they didn’t want to work with the brand. “My ego took a big hit,” Connor said.

Step 2 was letting go of creative control, and giving freedom within a framework. It’s an uncomfortable place for CPG marketers. The concept of short shorts, high heels and dancing ... hmmm, said Connor. The brand had to let influencers lead, but it also needed to have contracts tied up nice and tight as to how many posts will they do, how many edits can you do of their content.

Step 3, the launch plan. They created shorter edits for paid media and played around with sequencing. They also had a contest to drive people to the website, getting activation at retail. 

Step 4, optimize. They doubled down on content length. Shorter was better. The first five seconds had to have organic branding. They swapped out low-performing content with higher performers. 


It was an experiment that exceeded all expectations. Organic engagement. One influencer got 5 million views, and 3 million subscribers and that’s what they were looking for, more views than subscribers. 

Clorox had 1.3 million views in 72 hours. Looked at sentiment. YouTube was able to pull sentiment score from likes, comments, replies. Paid content, KPI brand consideration. Surpassed goal. 

Paid influencer saw a 12% consideration lift. CPG average is 5 to 6%. View-through rates — how many completed video — were very high. 30 - 40%. Audience retention was longer than average.

Site traffic was up by 40%. The team made sure it was driving people from influencer content to the brand site, and a dedicated landing page with a drive to coupon.

Key takeaways

  • Find the right talent fit.
  • Release some creative control.
  • Create a strong launch plan: Use the influencer’s channels, your owned channels and paid media; integrate into your broader brand campaign.
  • Optimize.
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications