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Hardest working person in America

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  • Mitchum Hardest Working campaign site
  • Youtube channel

While the rest of the deodorant category was gaining attention with high-profile, humorous and sexy campaigns from competitors, (particularly Old Spice) the Mitchum brand seemed out of step with the category.

Mitchum needed to maintain its position in retailers and regain its relevance with consumers, so a renewed effort was needed to reinvigorate the old-school deodorant brand from Revlon. 

In a post-recessionary climate, Mitchum's more serious, hard-working brand values which at one time had seemed so out of date, could be made to once again resonate with the public.

Consumer priorities and values had changed with the recession. Hard work was fashionable again, and when this thinking was applied to the deodorant category, Mitchum recognised that an over-reliance on sex-appeal and humor was out-of-step with many real life consumer situations. 

Mitchum saw the opportunity to set itself apart from the frivolous marketing approach of competing brands by celebrating the good old-fashioned hard work of everyday American heroes. 

This was Mitchum's first major campaign since 2005, and people no longer knew what Mitchum stood for, so a strategy was required that re-introduced Mitchum to the market.

The aim was to engage consumers in a genuine conversation and give them a compelling reason to interact with the brand and build upon Mitchum's historical brand equity as the hard-working deodorant and link it to individual consumer stories.

'The Hardest Working _____ in America' was a platform which recognised the everyday, industrious American worker, while positioning Mitchum as the industrious Amercian worker's antiperspirant. 

Mitchum launched a search for the hardest working Americans and created a branded entertainment campaign that would unite the brand image with the new national mood.

Award-winning filmmakers Bradley Kaplan (director of Rush Hour and Red Dragon) and Albert Maysles (director of the Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter) were brought in to help create a branded entertainment campaign, based on a contest to find the hardest-working person in America. They created short, documentary-style films about the country's unsung heroes, from a cattle rancher in South Dakota to a baker in Brooklyn. The films were used to launch the contest.

Via TV, print, digital and social media, and a dedicated site, Mitchum built awareness and encouraged entrants to create their own short films nominating someone for their hard work. Viewers could vote on the various nominees via YouTube. The prize was $100,000 and the chance to feature in a documentary directed by Maysles.

Mitchum partnered with the critically acclaimed Sundance Channel to air the winner's documentary. And maintained engagement up to the October premier of the winner's film with social media dialogue on Twitter and Facebook, and via personalised email.

The message was spread to in-store activity and coupon initiatives.


More than 150 submissions, exceeding benchmark by 53% 
More than 3 million contest video views, exceeding target by 21% 
More than 11 million video views of the films/content, exceeding target by 32% 
Over 200 million impressions 
Over 150 million PR impressions 
Mitchum surpassed its goal for contest votes by over 1,300%! 

Voters had chosen Chad Pregracke, founder of non-profit organisation Living Lands and Waters, as 'The Hardest Working Person in America'. Chad had removed over 7 million pounds of rubbish from the Mississippi river and so was regarded as the perfect face for the competition. His documentary More than a Paycheck: Mitchum Presents America's Hardest Workers premiered at the Sundance Festival. 

Sales of Mitchum are undisclosed in detail, but reported by the submitting agency to have risen.

The campaign was shortlisted in the 2011 Festival of Media Awards in the 'Best Communication/Entertainment Platform'.

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Brand Owner:
United States
April - December 2010
Media Owner:
Media Channel:
Branded Content,Integrated,Online,TV
  • FMAs shortlisted
  • ROI driver
  • Big idea

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