APPIES 2019 Award Winner: Sharing the Essence of Little Joys in Life

Going into this latest case study for the ‘Winning Partnership Series’, we discover how Astro engaged its own digital content platform to link back the little joys of life with Herbal Essences’ values. This is how the “Little Joys” campaign came to be, a truly amazing piece of authentic content marketing without a fancy pitch deck and storyboard!

I was thrilled when Astro and Thinker Studios presented their ideas about Herbal Essences “Little Joys” that can connect with Malaysian Millennials. The idea is fresh and never seen before, so I signed up to it immediately knowing that this was right up our alley even with some risks attached to it.

Within the first episode, we knew that the risk is worth taking – the response and comments from the viewers is astonishing. Consumers are asking tons of questions about the product and where to buy which translated into amazing business results. Bringing more little joys to the brand as well as to the Astro team.”
– Anggia Pulungan, Haircare Commercial Director, Procter & Gamble Malaysia


While famous for its heritage as a natural sensorial product range, the brand registered low awareness level amongst Millennials. Astro tapped onto Thinker Studios to craft a ‘Life at Thinker’ episode series, featuring a connected story that revolved around its members. Their focus: to recall their little joys in life when using Herbal Essences. To make the narrative real, pure, and relatable, it follows the creative process of ‘producing the project’. Notably, the product is always on display – either in physical form or as a source of inspiration.


Awareness of Herbal Essences among Millennials is at an all-time low. This is odd as many in this audience category have revealed how they are willing to pay for premium products; they want to pay for higher quality experiences and prefer organic/natural ingredients. Capturing a wider audience may seem easy but the marketplace is highly fragmented. This is more so with Malay Millennials as they are more prone to be resistant towards mass advertising. They crave genuine engagement.


Knowing Millennials want to be engaged with the very best and are keen to spend on such things, Herbal Essences is in the right space. All it needs to do is run with a concept that is highly relatable to the target audience. It helps that Herbal Essences has a rich history as a natural sensorial brand and has more than enough back-story to address next-gen requirements.

Consumer Insight

Astro understands what the Millennials are demanding for – content that is not just engaging, but also relatable, real, and pure. They must be engaged with strong visuals, acknowledge the plot as relatable, and act on the call-to-action prompts.

Strategic Fit

Astro has a strong penetration within the Millennials, even more with the Malay sub-segment. This is for both on-air and online platforms. This makes it suitable for Herbal Essences as it wants to approach these specific targets and engage them in unique ways.

It also helps that Astro has various platforms that it can tap onto for expansion efforts for this campaign. This ties in very well with the need to educate audiences about the strong affinity Herbal Essences has with all-natural ingredients. Just as critical is how it can be a source of inspiration for the little joys in life and various creative factors.

After all, the general target audience are Millennials, with further emphasis on the Malay sub-segment. This also includes the secondary audiences that Thinker Studios already engages (25 to 34 year-olds).


Plan and execute a campaign that will improve brand equity and grow product demand (by 10%). This also includes increasing consumer engagement and conversion (by 20%) at the end of this campaign.

Content Strategy

Using a simple, straightforward storytelling strategy with visual, application, and senses cues, Astro and Thinker Studios intertwined each episode with Herbal Essences natural and sensorial efficacy. These primarily include:

  • Visual – Product displays exposed the brand’s beautiful packaging helping team members’ draw joy and inspiration from creating limited edition merchandises such as t-shirts and tote bags, designed with Herbal Essences colours.
  • Application – Product usage testimonials demonstrated the brand’s superior efficacy and positive effects on their haircare regime. Promo code discounts given to online viewers during each episode, helped induced trial and purchase.
  • Senses – Triggered by a sensorial experience after using Herbal Essences, the team is also encouraged to spread the joy to others by inviting friends to enjoy a special Herbal Essences hair wash


Stronger Brand Engagement

With the unique method in how this campaign is executed, brand awareness for Herbal Essences and its shampoo line spiked. It managed to reach over 1.4 million views organically, without spending any of the allocated budget for boosting. The brand became sought after among fans during Thinker Studios live ground engagements, where fans chased after the merchandises across four locations nationwide.

Specifically, the campaign reached high awareness among males at 42% and females at 58%, aged between 18 to 24 year-olds, as well as males at 53% and females at 47% for aged 25 to 34 year-olds on Thinker Studios’ platform. While the series achieved high organic reach, it also recorded a high capture rate on social conversations surrounding the brand among Millennials. In fact, everyone was talking about the products more than the content, sharing their little joy spurred by Herbal Essences.  

On top of that, the strategic concepts used have earned this campaign a Silver Award at this year’s APPIES.

Higher Brand Equity

The real conversations, authentic reactions and pure, unadulterated Joy with simple, straightforward storytelling strategy used in ‘Life at Thinker’ series has given Herbal Essences a sense of relation to both the show and target audience. This has resulted in the creation of new merchandises which has become the crave of the Malay millennials to own it.

Improved Market Share

Herbal Essences delivered its objective in increasing purchase consideration among Millennials, managing to grow the brand by 2x off take, in comparison to what it achieved a year ago. Herbal Essences market share also soared past 20% score after the campaign went live. As a result, Herbal Essences growths have exceeded expectations, by as much as over 50%.

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