WhiteWave Foods Marketer Simpson Talks Digital, Sees Brand Lift In International Delight Campaign

WhiteWaveWhiteWave Foods and agency Horizon Media recently launched an International Delight “CoffeeHouse Inspirations Skinny” campaign which the companies said drove a 34.4% increase in brand lift with the help of Vizu technology. Read the release.

Aaron Simpson, Associate Marketing Director at WhiteWave Foods, who worked on the International Delight “Skinny” launch, shared some of his views on the digital space and insights on the recent campaign.

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AdExchanger.com: What was the goal of the “Skinny” campaign – whether from a brand perspective, ROI perspective, or both?

AS: The goal of the “Skinny” campaign was to drive awareness and product trial for our new line of fat free coffeehouse flavors – Skinny Caramel Macchiato and Skinny Vanilla Latte.  We launched the products in January and wanted to use digital to reach people in a very targeted way, as they were engaged online with other relevant information about “diet season.”

The Skinny launch was the second product launch in our successful CoffeeHouse platform, that allows people to enjoy the same great flavors of their favorite coffeehouse at home.

Can you talk a bit about why you need to “test and learn” with digital?

Digital has historically been a small piece of our total marketing budget and small enough that we haven’t had effective ways of measuring its success.  With marketing mix analysis, I’m pretty confident about what kind of return I’m getting with TV, print and trade dollars. We all have limited marketing budgets and (without effective measurement), it’s hard to make a trade off from traditional marketing vehicles – hard to just take 50% of my budget and shift into digital.

We also need to better understand how much and where our  consumer is engaging online and how effective our online advertising is at connecting with them. When you start talking impressions, those numbers get pretty big, fast, but I’ve never been sure how effective those impressions are. Is digital advertising  really going to drive my business? Working with Vizu through Horizon Media is one of the first times I’ve seen this in my career – where not only can we measure the effectiveness of digital advertising against a specific marketing objective, but can also make changes as we go during the campaign to maximize our effectiveness. That’s really impressive.

I think a lot of times in the digital space – because it’s still relatively young – there’s still a lot of figuring out how to measure results, even on the backend of a campaign. So for something like Vizu to give me success metrics in real time – I’d love to have that kind of flexibility in traditional media.  Imagine being able to measure response in Television where I could measure the awareness I got from a specific program and then quickly shift more media against successful placement. These types of digital metrics are getting beyond traditional metrics which is great.

How important is “real-time” in your brand marketing world? Whether in terms of feedback on your ad campaigns, social conversations with consumers, etc.?

I can definitely see momentum in the importance of real-time in our brand building. That’s where digital becomes really impactful. I don’t even have that capability in traditional marketing vehicles – I can’t gauge or get real-time feedback from TV or Print and start shifting my budget or shifting what programs I’m on. But, the ability to do that in digital, makes digital really interesting because it allows me to really target effectively.

What was your strategy regarding creative in this campaign -especially as it relates to digital?

I will say that we are still learning here and admittedly the campaign wasn’t designed specifically around the digital space. We took an aspect of our TV campaign – an animated pinch of our bottle at the “waist” with a tape measure and tailored that for digital with an interactive banner that ended with an online coupon to incent trial. That’s one of the things that we can do in the digital space, which I love about – include an offer with the digital ads.

Looking at your marketing toolkit, how does it breakout in digital?  Display, social, mobile, search?

We’re trying to get a lot better with search and optimize that opportunity.  I think it’s very important for us. I also want to use digital to engage the people who use our products in a unique way. Social media is really important for us in doing that.  About a year-and-half ago we had 3,000 Facebook fans and our page was started by passionate fan of the brand. I had just read “Predictably Irrational” (by Dan Ariely) and there’s a section in there about the power of “free.” And, so I decided that we were going to try and experiment one week on Facebook. We posted a free coupon offer for anybody that signed up through Facebook. We had to shut it down after 24 hours because we had 30,000 people sign up.  I realized there was something to this and we prepared to do it again – this time with a week long campaign which got another 100,000 fans. We actually haven’t lost them since then and people are really engaged with us. We now have a “barista” who posts on our Facebook page and about how to make better coffee at home, etc.  We’ve also started a Coffee Talk community with BlogFrog to engage people about interesting topics as they’re enjoying their morning coffee.  Once again, this has been a test-and-learn for us, but we’re finding it to be a great way to engage people.  My hope is that we’ll continue to learn and grow in digital.

Are you thinking more about digital as a brand awareness vehicle? Typically, digital has been thought of a direct response opportunity.

I think there’s opportunity for both. First, I think about digital as a powerful vehicle for engaging people with our brand.  In CPG marketing, we often fall into the trap of our digital looking very corporate.  I want to make our brand a fun part of her day in the digital space so that our consumers want to engage with us. But, I do also think the area where we can get better is direct response. Digital is a great way to continually market to our consumers – I want to figure out how do I reach out to the consumer and let her know about new things that are coming as well as involving her in the brand creation. So, how do I develop an activity where she can actually vote on the next flavor or create it? That’s where digital allows you to play in a way that traditional media does not.  It takes a big leap of faith to turn over a piece of the brand to the consumer, but we need to get there – where we’re not just talking at the consumer, but the consumer is talking to us. We’re not there yet, but that’s where I see things going and it becomes really powerful when you can say – “I’ve got four new flavors that I’m thinking about launching. Why don’t you guys tell me what you want next year?”  I think digital is a real way to drive loyalty connections to the brand beyond traditional ways.

Looking back at how the Vizu technology unlocked some insights for International Delight, what were some of the key takeaways of what the technology offered?

This kind of technology gets me excited and makes me want to put more money in the digital space because I know the next time I run a campaign, I know what I’m getting.  I know going in that I can optimize my spend and make it as powerful as possible.  So, the investment becomes much easier the next time around. Then we’re starting to get to a place where digital offers something that traditional media cannot. I can optimize on the fly – I can’t do that with TV, but I can in digital.

By John Ebbert

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1 Comment

  1. We are exceedingly proud of the work that Horizon Media did to extract the maximal advertising effectiveness from this campaign on behalf of WhiteWave foods. The optimization based on Vizu’s real time Brand Lift data was so good, in fact, that the Advertising Research Foundation recognized the campaign with a prestigious Ogilvy Award.

    You may review the winning case study at http://www.brandlift.com, specifically: http://brandlift.vizu.com/knowledge-resources/case-studies/vizu-wins-david-ogilvy-award/

    Dan Beltramo
    Vizu Corporation