Selling Jelly Belly, Programmatically

BeansSan Francisco-based agency Nice Advertising services small-to-midsize CPG brands like Jelly Belly, Sunsweet and Crystal Geyser.

The independent agency is creating a programmatic buying outfit in-house, partnering with TubeMogul as its dedicated video demand-side platform.

The growth in programmatic spend is most striking. Since the agency’s Director of media and analytics Eliot Kent-Uritam joined Nice one year ago, the percent of client media spend appropriated to programmatic buying has gone from barely a blip on the radar to the double digits.

“For a programmatic unit, you can certainly inform what’s working and what’s not from a targeting standpoint,” Kent-Uritam said. “Admittedly, we’re on the smaller side (the agency manages media spend in the $10 to $100 million range). One of our advantages is being nimble and being fluid as far as how the money gets spent. We don’t want to run a separate profit center and call it a trading desk.”

Instead, Nice is deploying what’s termed as a “private” trading desk for client Jelly Belly, where the advertiser, agency and DSP strike a deal directly to pass on cost savings to the client by promising performance and transparency.

As more brands go direct to vendors, agencies know they have to keep in lockstep by selecting best-of-breed systems

More agencies (at least, publically) are standardizing on programmatic video platforms as brand advertisers seek to extend their digital reach. Mediahub/Mullen partnered with Videology to inform planning, buying and measurement with Nielsen GRP equivalents. Independent media agency Harmelin committed its programmatic video buys to a single platform.

“There certainly has been a lot of that recently, with Electronic Arts and others bringing all of their (programmatic) in house,” Kent-Uritam said. “I don’t think you necessarily have to be Walmart to do that, but it makes sense at a certain scale and not a lot of companies have that much first-party data.” Brands must also figure out how to allocate resources to build the necessary internal systems and develop in-house expertise.

In the case of specialty candy client Jelly Belly, a brand that roughly skews 60:40 female-to-male ages 25-49 years old, Nice wanted to work with a DSP that could help identify the best data segments for jelly-bean eaters.

“We wanted to stay top of mind with people who are not just buying candy, but not buying chocolate and we specifically do not target children,” Kent-Uritam said. “Using TubeMogul helped us find data segments around non-chocolate candy purchasers, various different demographic segments and other behavioral data.”

Gathering completions rates can be a challenge in short-form video since these videos are often shared socially and users bounce in and out of apps. The agency was able to increase Jelly Belly’s short-form video completion rates by 10% by improving the quality of targeting and aligning that with creative.

“We’re interested in the full-episode video space as well and I’d love for more of that to come onboard programmatically,” Kent-Uritam said. “I don’t think that will happen yet, because I see it heading more into the linear side of things and it’s more bundled in the upfronts, but that’s a piece of the video space I’d love to become more programmatic.”

Additionally, while television is one of the most efficient mediums to reach older demos at the national level, digital video “really shines at the local level, so we’re doing a ton more on the local campaign level for our CPG brands.”


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