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INSEAD wins top global case study award

Shellie Karabell, Editor-in-Chief |

Marketing Case Study of Portugal’s Renova Black Toilet Paper is #1

A INSEAD video case study focusing on the marketing strategies of Portuguese paper company Renova has won the overall global award for the best case study from ecch (formerly European Case Clearing House). Renova differentiated itself from its peers – some of whom are international paper companies such as Georgia Pacific – through innovation…and the creation of Renova Black toilet paper, launching the rolls from supermarket shelves into fashion shows and designer boutiques. The project was directed by marketing professor Pierre Chandon and the video component was produced in-house at INSEAD. Professor Chandon and Renova CEO Paulo Pereira da Silva introduce the first video segment of the video case study…

The INSEAD case study documented how Renova, a privately-held European paper products company headquartered outside of Lisbon, Portugal, managed to differentiate itself from its international competitors, transform white toilet paper from a commodity into a premium product, and then enter new business sectors through innovative marketing. The result was “Renova Black,” the world’s first black toilet paper, which rapidly shifted from a novelty item to a luxury fashion item. Equally rapidly, the company moved from supermarket aisles into boutique hotels, fashion shows and the headlines. 

INSEAD marketing professor Pierre Chandon said: "We are delighted to be the first non-US school to win the overall award since the ecch awards went global. After many years during which the overall award went to cases about multinational companies, we are pleased that this year's award recognizes the accomplishment of a small Portuguese company. Renova's success in bringing innovation and creativity to a commoditized category can serve as inspiration for all managers battling difficult conditions and a reason to remain optimistic about the future of southern European businesses.

"Renova Toilet Paper: Avant-garde Marketing in a Commoditized Category" represented a completely in-house effort from INSEAD and included more than a dozen video clips. The business case was written by Pierre Chandon, in association with INSEAD assistant professors of marketing Yakov Bart and Steven Sweldens and Raquel Seabra de Sousa (INSEAD MBA 2009) from BCG’s Lisbon office. Seabra de Sousa also participated in the video clips, which were written, edited, and produced on-location by INSEAD Knowledge Editor-in-Chief, Shellie Karabell and Julian Boudier, INSEAD Audio-Visual Production Manager.

Ilian Mihov, Deputy Dean for Faculty and Research at INSEAD commented: “To take the overall top spot is a rare honour and an indication of how much hard work and dedication went into developing the Renova business case on the part of the INSEAD faculty and staff. Case studies are a proven and effective teaching tool and we look forward to adding to this world repository of knowledge.”

Pierre Chandon is an INSEAD Professor of  Marketing and the L'Oreal Chaired Professor of Marketing - Innovation and Creativity. He is also the Director of the INSEAD Social Sciences Research Centre

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