Getting millions of people talking about shower gel.

The Original Source story

We work with Original Source using social media and data to define their future range of shower gels. We make films to launch new variants, we concepted and built their global website and we look after their always on social presence. We’re proud of this because without Hollywood budgets and an agile way of working, we’re getting millions of people talking about something that’s usually a low interest category.


We started working with Original Source shower gels about 3 years ago and as a matter of course, we had a poke around the series of tubes to see what was going on.

Let’s think for a second about things that people normally talk about online. Themselves, jazzy post-normcore fashions, music, art — just about anything else that makes us look wittier and more attractive than we really are. It came as a slight surprise to us then, that the aforementioned shower gel brand punched well above its weight in the “people-seem-to-go-out-of-their-way-to-proactively-talk-about-it” index.

Not only did they talk about it, it’s almost as though people were trying to out-do each other in how eloquently they could describe the smell, the tingle or the feeling of this naturally intense stuff. The Gigantic Dwarf from Amazon steps up to speaker’s corner . . .

So with this background in mind, close your eyes, dear reader, and imagine you are in our lovely grain silo offices in London bridge. It’s a late summer afternoon, Ziggy is barking at the skylights, and some of our best and brightest are gathered in the auspicious meeting room 1 to decide what we should do with this brand.

Someone (perhaps it was the author but we can’t be sure) piped up.

This unprompted advocacy is fantastic and really unusual for the category. What we should do, is find these people and put them front and centre in every single thing we do, from content, to social, to product launches, even get them working with the fragrance houses in product development.

The strategic conch was then passed to the creative director

This works, but what we need is a name — we need to call these people something. I don’t think it’ll be public facing, but maybe it will.

After a moment’s dramatic pause, he continued . . .

We should call them “THE INTENSITISTS” because of their obsession with this shower gel and what it feels like. So everything that we do fuels the intensititsts and publishes what they say and do.

And that, in a nutshell, is how this shower started. There’s a good feeling at moments like this, when you can really see the immediate and ongoing potential of an idea. We found like we’d come across something that would be fun and relevant, a fresh way to tell the Original Source story.

The client agreed, so we got started. Our creative process is light and agile, we don’t do huge campaigns that take months of planning — it’s always on test and learn. (quite a few buzzwords in that last sentence, but you get my gist)

We took what Intensitists were saying and turned them into light touch web apps to solve their product problems

@TimBow1982 had trouble deciding which Original Source variant to shower with, so we made him a spinning wheel to help.

We took moments in culture, gave the Original Source take on it and asked what the Intensitists thought . . .

Our tongue in cheek look at the Apple OS 7 launch

We made a new global website (rolled out in 4 or 5 markets), that updates based on what the Intensitists are talking about online. It also shows a live preview of what they’ve said.

The Original Source UK website

We tap into the inventive ways in which our Intensitists describe their OS experience

We cast and star the Intensitists in our product launch campaigns

The Skin Quench launch campaign film, viewed over 1 million times

We get the Intensitists to make short films for us about their product experience

Fans and amateur film makers, recreating the OS experience

Most importantly, we use the Intensitists to drive new product development. So this isn’t just digital for comms, this is using digital to fundamentally steer the direction of the business and its product range. There aren’t many, perhaps any, FMCG brands who regularly put decisions about their future range wholly in the hands of their consumers. It’s not just that we do it, it’s how we do it. We make it fun, surprising and inventive. Also cost effective and fast. And that is something that we’re proud of. We work with the fragrance houses to develop three prototype variants, then put them to our Intensitists to experience, discuss and vote. Throughout the process, we also create digital experiences of these prototypes — so you can ‘have’ an Original Source shower without even getting wet. It’s a fun creative challenge — how can we represent what this shower gel feels like through digital?

The future vision of one of the contenders, Lemon and Coriander

An Intensitist’s description of the experience even appears on the front of the bottle of the winning variant.

Requesting reviews from Intensitists and the featured review
The product on the shelf at Boots on Tottenham court road

We’ve launched two new variants this way, the first one went well. Over 4,000,000 unique users saw the campaign, over 50,000 people voted, over 1,000 people wrote a review, tens of thousands of people purchased the product when it launched + coverage in industry and creative press.

The second one, we took it global — we think it was first time that a FMCG product was globally crowdsourced? If I’m wrong on this one, you can holla at me on Twitter.

The numbers on this one were really strong — we were stoked. The activity ran in 5 markets, had over 110,000 votes, over 10,000,000 unique campaign viewers and over 350,000 video views.

Wild Cherry and Nettle. The winning variant globally.

The three things that we’re taking from the journey so far (that are much bigger than Original Source) 1. Ways of working so you can respond to data
I guess the most important thing through all of this is the data and being in a position to respond to it in a creative way. People can go on and on about data until the cows come home- but it’s only when it’s plugged into the creative and product development process that it really starts to sing.

2. Incentives Creating simple incentive systems is hugely effective in driving word of mouth. So whether it’s the chance to name the next project, or just get a sample of one of their favourites — incentives + easy ways to interact work strongly. This isn’t rocket science, but the “what’s in it for the Intensitist?” is something that’s always at the front of our minds.

3. Sprinkle your magic on top of things that people are currently doing and saying. This isn’t about a “real consumer endorsement” in your “authentic” insurance ad. Use something that someone has said or something that someone does and make that the start of the creative process. Maybe you credit them, maybe you don’t. Doesn’t really matter. This can often be more powerful than the strategist coming up with a proposition that everything hangs off.

So what does the future hold for Original Source and the Intensitists? The short answer is more of the same. Both the reach and interest in what we’re doing continues to grow and the brand is on a fantastic trajectory. So why don’t you get involved? Look for Original Source on Facebook or Google and we’ll see you there [:@)