Johnson & Johnson Adapts A Brick-And-Mortar Legacy To Targeted Digital Campaigns

johnsonjohnsonanaJohnson & Johnson saw the writing on the wall when it began marketing in a digital world.

The 130-year-old CPG giant was born and raised in what Alison Lewis, CMO of J&J Consumer Brands, called a “right-handed world.”

“We were dominated by brick-and-mortar, Mom was the CEO of the household, big players used size and advantage and categories changed very slowly, if at all,” she said Friday at the Association of National Advertisers’ Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando, Fla.

But today’s competitive set is filled with “left-handed” brands like Dollar Shave Club, which disrupted the razor space so massively that Unilever bought it for $1 billion.

So J&J repurposed a history of clout and scale to dive into targeted digital advertising for its skin care brand Neutrogena so it could send personal messages at scale.

In-store purchase data around loyalty cards showed consumers weren’t buying Neutrogena’s entire product line. Shoppers bought Neutrogena face wash, for example, but not Neutrogena face moisturizer. So J&J launched a programmatic display campaign on contextually relevant sites, such as beauty and skin care magazines, to target these customers on digital and show them what they were missing.

The skin care brand crafted 88 addressable creative units featuring product pairings that introduced consumers to new Neutrogena products based on their purchase histories. The campaign reached 18.1 million households, generated 83 million impressions and returned $5.84 million on ad spend, shattering previous benchmarks by 189%.

“Offline will still be a significant portion of our sales, but growth online will double,” Lewis said. “Consumers still want the physical but they operate on the digital.”

And a foray into programmatic hasn’t been J&J’s only evolution.

For Listerine, J&J tweaked global TV campaigns with cultural nuances to see share rise by 1.1 basis points in certain local markets. The company executed its first ever digital brand launch for Aveno in China. It’s hiring more product and digital specialists and partnering with outside vendors to modernize its brands.

Such partnerships allow J&J to strengthen its brands by “down-streaming and democratizing things that sit in a dermatologist’s office,” Lewis said.

Lewis left CPG brands with a strong message to take home.

“We have to be more fluid and horizontal in our structures,” Lewis said. “Take years of category experience and partner with unexpected players.”

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