A buttoned-up executive for a corporate behemoth sweeps into a quaint, mountain town with plans to shutter and demolish a family-owned store.
But this C-suite hunk named Stephen didn’t count on meeting Katie, a fresh-faced beauty who runs the business. And it’s Christmas. And they’re both single.
Do you know where this is going? Of course you do, especially if you’ve ever watched Hallmark Channel at this time of year, when cheesy, cliche-riddled movies run on a continuous, sappy loop.
The cable network’s holly-infused subgenre, catnip to certain audiences, is ripe for parody. TikTokers, YouTubers and SNL sketch writers have had a field day with it in the past, and now startup brand Lume takes its turn in skewering the predictable format.
“A Deodorant Day Prince,” from Utah’s viral video mavens, the Harmon Brothers, follows Stephen’s overnight transformation from hard-nosed titan to natural-product convert. How could he help but fall for Lume, after spending time with adorkable Katie and hearing her pitch about the brand’s 72-hour aluminum-free, full-body odor protection?
The 6-minute video, which also features a requisite sassy best friend and a children’s choir singing a hilariously reworded version of “Good King Wenceslas,” was a risk for the young brand because it steps outside the standard DTC commercial route.
“There’s a super soft focus on sales,” said Dr. Shannon Klingman, the gynecologist-turned-entrepreneur who debuted Lume in 2017. “I was a little nervous at first, but I love that it tells a great story. I’d actually like to see the sequel.”
Would that also involve a pit-smelling contest in the snowy town square? Maybe that’s a question for another day.
The mini-movie, with its pitch-perfect cast and idyllic setting, has landed north of 1 million views so far. It’s the brainchild of Harmon Brothers writer Kelly Vrooman and the indie agency’s creative director Jonny Vance.
Vrooman, a comedian and actress, had been itching to do a Hallmark satire ever since she posted a video of her father’s spot-on synopsis of the flicks last year. (In less than four minutes, the guy absolutely, and lovingly, nails countless Hallmark tropes.) The response was huge: Combined social media views reached 7.9 million.
That’s not the only Hallmark connection for “A Deodorant Day Prince.” Harmon Brothers wanted to closely mirror the look and feel of the channel’s movies, so the ad was shot in Bountiful, Utah, the backdrop for many Hallmark projects. And the creators scouted local crew members—wardrobe, makeup, art directors and others—who had Hallmark movies on their CVs. (Vance jokingly called them “the A team of B films.”)
And as for shilling, Vance and team took a self-aware approach to the call-to-action in the faux romantic storyline, shoving in mentions of Lume at every opportunity.
“It’s the opposite of a Trojan horse,” he said.
The longform spot is the latest in the Harmon Brothers’ work for Lume, which made its first advertising splash in late 2018 with a 4-minute Broadway-style musical production. That video snagged more than 1 million views in its first week and helped propel the brand to a 10-times sales jump, Klingman said.
Since then, the partners have built “a library of content” around Lume, which Klingman says has “elevated the brand.” The company, self-financed by Klingman, is on track to pull in $50 million in sales in 2020, with projections nearing $100 million for 2021, even without retail distribution.
Lume, which tapped into what Klingman calls a “gap in the market” for whole-body deodorant, sells via its own digital channels and Amazon. The “female-forward” product, technically unisex, plans to expand with lines aimed at men, teens and other demos.