Inside BIC’s sales-boosting social media play with ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Inside BIC’s sales-boosting social media play with ‘Vanderpump Rules’

Fan or not of Bravo TV’s reality show hit “Vanderpump Rules,” when news broke of a cheating scandal involving three of the show's castmates in the latest season, the internet’s uproar was tough to ignore. Looking to market around the buzz, BIC saw an opportunity to partner with Ariana Madix, the victim of the infidelity, to generate a quick-witted social media play addressing another of life’s “irritants” — a clogged razor.

While seemingly an unlikely match, the spontaneous tie-up between Madix and BIC is meant to promote the brand’s new EasyRinse line of razors and pairs with its larger campaign, “All Shave. No Clog.” The move, which yielded a comical spot spanning Madix and BIC’s social channels, linear TV and YouTube TV, has so far paid dividends, boosting sales of the women’s EasyRinse razor by 35% in the two weeks following the initial post and unlocking the highest social media engagement for BIC’s razor division within the past two years.

For Katie Potocki, marketing director of blade excellence for BIC, the collaboration was a no-brainer as the brand angles to form an authentic connection with consumers.

“This was really unique in the sense that I think a lot of people can relate to what has happened with the relationship with Ariana,” said Potocki. “We felt that it matched her personality and particularly matched BIC’s personality.”

The falling out of Madix and reality star Tom Sandoval — which has been dubbed the “Scandoval” — is a clear reference point in BIC’s 30-second spot. Throughout the video, Madix is seen cleansing her surroundings, noting that she’s ready to talk about something that’s been keeping her from living her best life, with the “something” later revealed as a razor full of hair. With BIC EasyRinse, the star claims she is able to kickstart a new “unclogged” chapter of her life. 

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Since its launch, the video has gained 1 million views on TikTok, 20.5 million views on Instagram Reels and nearly 450,000 views on YouTube. The effort additionally marks the highest social media engagement rate to date for the EasyRinse line specifically since its March unveiling. Moving quickly for the effort was key, Potocki said, noting that the time between ideation and production was around three weeks. 

Aside from social media, additional marketing muscle came from airing the spot during all three “Vanderpump Rules” reunion episodes over the past few weeks on linear TV and YouTube TV, with the last episode airing on Wednesday (June 7). For each week, the brand added a different end-card to the spot inclusive of an on-theme one-liner, the latest reading “because karma is a vibe,” underneath the “All Shave. No Clog.” tagline.

The linear TV media buy marks a departure from typical tactics deployed by the brand, but was important to establishing a deeper connection with the viewers of the show, which have proven valuable, Potocki said.

“While that’s not typically where we start, as we look at the consumer journey and where our target consumer is, it made sense to reach those Bravo enthusiasts,” the exec said.

Over the past five years, Potocki and the BIC team have observed that the razor division’s target consumer has gravitated toward social and digital platforms and away from traditional channels, the exec continued. Accordingly, the larger “All Shave. No Clog.” campaign for the EasyRinse line focuses on such platforms. The campaign kicked off on the first day of spring, a time labeled by BIC as “The Great Spring Unclog,” featuring comedian Eric Andre and actor Annie Murphy, who starred in a 30-second streaming and digital spot of their own. 

Along with streaming, social media, PR activations and retail displays, among other activations, a focus on influencer marketing, such as the collaboration with Madix, is a primary focus for the campaign, which will last through 2024. While influencer activations for many brands have been dominated by social media creators in recent years, celebrity buzz has continued to be desired by marketers, as seen following the “Vanderpump Rules'' uproar. Along with BIC, Madix has recently formed partnerships with other brands, like finance app SoFi, fast-food chain Raising Canes and Frito-Lay. For Potocki, such partnerships are critical to driving relevancy.

“We’re in a very crowded market,” the exec said. “The razor category is incredibly competitive and ensuring that we relate not just in our feature message but also what’s current, what’s cultural, what matters, is really important.”

Creative for BIC’s Madix tie-up was handled by agency M Booth, while paid buys during the “Vanderpump Rules” reunion episodes were handled by Merkley.

BIC has frequently tapped into popular culture to market its products, with the latest effort no different. Another flashy move by the company came earlier this year through a partnership with Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and Martha Stewart around 4/20, a popular holiday celebrating weed culture, to promote its EZ Reach Lighter. Last year, BIC-owned reusable notebook brand Rocketbook teamed with cast members of popular series “The Office” to make a play on the fictitious paper company’s switch to reusable products.

For the duration of the “All Shave. No Clog.” campaign, BIC plans to search for additional opportunities to tap into cultural moments to share “unclogged” wisdom, according to the exec.

“We continue to look for moments to amplify, like we did with Ariana, when we find a moment where we can unclog a situation, unclog a life, we will tap into it,” Potocki said.