What do you do when COVID-19 forces the cancellation of your 13th annual, and highly successful, 10-city mobile beard grooming tour? That’s the question Wahl posed to Hoffman York.
Create the first-ever Most Talented Beard in America online contest. Launched on World Beard Day, the contest offered levity by shining a spotlight on entertainers and achievers who make the world a better, or “bearder,” place to live.
By inviting bearded men to submit a video of themselves performing a talent, Hoffman York brought attention to Wahl’s array of beard trimmers and united people through fun and positivity
Hundreds of hairy hopefuls entered, 10 finalists were chosen, and public votes determined the top 3 winners
First place won $20,000, 2nd place took home $10,000 and 3rd place scored $5,000
The contest was a tremendous success and exceeded the previous year’s mobile beard grooming tour results. Every discipline at Hoffman York worked together to accomplish high-profile media coverage, big-time social media engagements and merchandisable user-generated content (UGC). It also paid off with a coveted Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award for Integrated Communications.
We conducted primary research and used secondary online research to identify key insights that would guide the planning process.
Primary research findings:
Almost half (48%) of men 18-64 either grew or changed their facial hair style during COVID-19
The top reasons for growing or changing facial hair were experimentation (46%) and self-expression (28%)
More than one-third (35%) of men also learned a new skill or talent during COVID-19
Secondary research findings:
Being in quarantine provided a lot of free time for men to cultivate new skills or talents
Consumers had an increased desire to create and share content online
The “quarantine beard” trend of not shaving while being in lockdown was popular
The media was thirsty for positive news
Promotional videos and other assets were marketed with paid support on Wahl’s social media pages, as well as through ads on Instagram and TikTok. We also negotiated partnerships with men’s interest outlets like BroBible, CoolMaterial and Joe’s Daily. This awareness led to quality entries from across the U.S., including musicians, dancers, jugglers, fire eaters and much more.
To help maximize opportunities for publicity, the contest included three phases: submitting entries, public voting and the winner announcement. The media’s enthusiasm for this contest was substantial with hundreds of placements in key outlets nationwide.
This campaign received a coveted PRSA Silver Anvil for Integrated Communications in the Consumer Products Packaged Goods category. The Silver Anvils are an icon of the industry and celebrate the highest standards of performance in public relations. Judges evaluate strategic programs that incorporate sound insights and analysis, planning, execution and evaluation.
Making the World a Bearder Place
Most importantly, the contest had positive real-life effects. The 3rd place winner was a musician whose income had been greatly impacted because of the pandemic. The 2nd place winner was a deaf man who donated part of his winnings to a charity that supports families with deaf children. And the 1st place winner used his prize to cover the costs of adopting a baby. Thanks to their talents (and beards), these amazing men helped Wahl “Make the World a Bearder Place."