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B E S T P R AC T I C E S Includes a case study May 20, 2005 Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever Unilever Shows That Online Advertising Does Boost Key Brand Metrics by Fiona McDonnell with Jaap Favier, Jim Nail, and Niek van VeenEXECUT I V E S U M MA RYUnilever’s Dove launch campaign in the Netherlands showed that online advertising not only hasa positive eﬀect on key metrics like brand awareness and purchase intent, but that it creates synergywith traditional media and deserves a double-digit percentage of the media budget. Other marketerswill follow Unilever’s lead in integrated media planning, consistent execution, and close collaboration.RESEARCH CATALYSTUnilever used the launch campaign for Dove hair conditioner in the Netherlands to understand theimpact of online marketing and to set its integrated marketing budgets.UNILEVER’S DOVE CAMPAIGN INTEGRATED DIGITAL AND TRADITIONAL CHANNELSUnilever performed a cross-media optimization study with online partner MSN and digital ad agencyReddion; market research agency MetrixLab collected and analyzed the data. · The campaign was noise-free. Unilever’s marketing objective was to increase brand awareness and purchase intent of its new line of Dove hair conditioner. The campaign ran in three diﬀerent media over a four-month period; to give priority to analyzing the eﬀect of each medium, Unilever did not otherwise market Dove in the test period.1 The company did not distribute samples of the new product, which it normally does for a product launch. · The media proﬁle combined targeted traditional and online ads. Unilever employed TV, print, and Internet ads, both independently and in combination. It determined the reach of each medium based on how much the target group — Dutch women aged 20 to 49 — used it.2 The marketers decided to show a 30-second spot on prime-time TV, place print ads in Dutch women’s weekly and monthly magazines, and put Internet ads on MSN portal and Hotmail sites frequented by the target audience. · The format was four consistent applications of one theme. The campaign used four formats: a TV commercial using the “before” and “after” product use scenario; print ads using a full-page photo and a small amount of accompanying text; an overlay banner ad containing a three-sentence message; and a showcase banner with a print photo within the ad text.3 Unilever’s European partner developed the creative content for each format to be consistent across the diﬀerent media and to reduce the number of uncontrolled variables in the end results.4 Headquarters Forrester Research, Inc., 400 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA Tel: +1 617/613-6000 • Fax: +1 617/613-5000 • www.forrester.com