Zack16 – Viral Marketing Campaign

I came across the Zack16 thing on twitter this evening after a tweet from a friend, and I have to say that I was incredibly miffed.

First of all, there is a really well designed website and social media presence for the character (Zack Johnson) along with several short videos which make up one large movie… all about a guy who has lost his ‘guy bits’ and gained (is that an appropriate word? heh!) ‘ladybits’. (You’re thinking WTF too, right?!)

Here’s a YouTube of all 4 installments that have been aired thus far:

Now… I have done some snooping, and have found out… wait for it… that this is actually a social media/viral campaign for Procter & Gamble’s Tampax brand!

I’ve quoted from an online article at the end of this post where the author has gotten hold of P&G to confirm the campaign and it also provides a little more information on the campaign itself.

It’ll be very interesting to see how they develop this, as I’m rather intrigued. Quite gutsy of P&G to do something as ‘out there’ as this, and from what I’ve seen, I think they’ve done it, to a very high (but slightly confusing!) standard. That said, it doesn’t seem to be faring all that well in terms of what it’s trying to achieve, and I know that this will have it’s critics, and people will say that it’s inappropriate etc.  Either way there is much more to come from all this it would seem, so it’ll be great to see how they develop it. I’d suggest visiting the official website and then choosing your preferred social media from there if you’re wanting to follow it further 🙂

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — The marketer behind a stealth viral campaign featuring videos of a fictional 16-year-old boy who wakes up one morning to find his “guy parts” gone and replaced with “girl parts” is none other than Procter & Gamble’s Tampax.

The campaign from Leo Burnett, Chicago, is anchored by a blog featuring professionally produced videos at Its main link to Tampax to date has been when title character, Zack Johnson, has his first period during French class and sneaks into the girls’ restroom to use a Tampax vending machine.

The campaign’s backer hasn’t been the only thing stealthy about it. As of this week, the most viewed of nine online videos produced had been seen fewer than 6,000 times on YouTube, though it’s had a few thousand additional views on such sites as Funny or Die and The fictional Mr. Johnson also has a Twitter account, @ZackJohnson16, with 949 followers.

“It’s a learning lab out on the net,” said a P&G spokesman, who characterized the push as “just playing around with some different ideas. You can tell it’s not very heavily branded at all.”

He said he’s not sure what the ultimate plan is in terms of revealing Tampax’s connection to the effort. And it’s not clear whether or how Mr. Johnson’s Freudian nightmare will end. In a possible bit of foreshadowing, the fictional character’s Twitter feed said today: “Watching gyro meat spin on a stick reminded me how things always come back around. Maybe it’s a sign my guy parts will return?”

In the course of his change, the character has developed a new sympathy for and connection with his 14-year-old sister, an appreciation for the travails of menstruation and premenstrual syndrome, and an affinity for the Tampax brand.

“It was inexpensive for us to do this one little effort and kind of get a feel for how much pickup it gets, if it goes viral or if it doesn’t,” the P&G spokesman said. “For Tampax, we’ve got our Mother Nature advertising and Mother Nature effort,” which he said remains the brand’s main campaign. YouTube videos of those TV ads, in which Mother Nature crisply presents a woman with her “monthly gift” encased in red paper and tied with a bow, have gotten about tenfold the YouTube traffic so far of the Zack Johnson campaign.


About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

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