Surf: A Totally 'Reem' Sponsorship

Watch the video case study below


In 2012, Unilever’s Surf laundry detergent found itself facing a challenge. Washing powder is a low-interest category and Surf’s competitors were aligning themselves with the biggest event in the calendar – the 2012 Olympics. A big idea was needed to resonate in potential customers’ minds. 


Today, functional differences between detergents are minimal. Personality is the extra dimension that powerfully and intimately connects brands with consumers. 


Extending the multi-platform sponsorship of The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) – the show with some of the biggest and most influential personalities on TV – was the fitting solution. The entertainment show’s reach and the buzz it generates represented a brilliant opportunity for Surf to get its key audience listening (and buying). 


To deepen and personify the TOWIE/Surf relationship, Unilever extended its TOWIE licence to launch a brand new Surf fragrance, called Summer D’Reem, featuring cast favourite Joey Essex. The launch included:

  • TOWIE branding on pack, and across in-store design
  • Social media driving discussion from TOWIE’s fiercely loyal and active fan base
  • Joey Essex featuring in unique viral video content
  • Surf supporting the launch with additional digital advertising 

Fresh Out Of Essex

Fresh Out Of Essex was an online mini series of exclusive content that lived on the official TOWIE website, devised to fill the Essex-shaped hole in fans’ lives. Bumpers on ITV mobile and ITV Player, plus roadblocks on consolidated this activity.

Marbs competition

Surf knew that competitions were key in engaging Surf’s target audience, and who would say no to a free, glamorous trip to Spain? Certainly not TOWIE fans. 



  • Summer D’Reem was a success, with over £1million gross retail sales value across the summer
  • Viewer response was massively influenced, with ‘talkability’ at 51% (vs. 36% non-viewers)
  • Purchase intent of Summer D’Reem at 62% (vs. 51% non-viewers)
  • Surf’s TOWIE sponsorship awareness grew throughout the campaign to 77% by end (22% above the norm)
  • 1.3 million video views of Fresh Out of Essex across the year
  • 61,501 visits to the entry page of the Marbs competition in total (297% vs KPI).
  • 19.9m monthly total video requests and 18m page views online during the campaign

The campaign was viewed as especially effective in terms of persuasion, with 62% of viewers likely to say it made them think differently about Surf and made them more likely to consider Surf’s image was more positive among viewers for all attributes.

  • ‘Makes clothes smell clean and fresh’ - 63%
  • ‘Gives long lasting fragrance’ - 57%
  • ‘Just washed fragrance that lasts’ - 53% 

Dirty laundry has never been so ‘Reem’…

  • 0 %
    Of viewers wished to purchase Summer D'Reem
  • 0 %
    Awareness of the campaign
  • 0 +
    Grossed from the limited edition Surf D'Reem washing powder

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