Online advertising case study unilever


Published on

Published in: Business
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Online advertising case study unilever

  1. 1. 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 •
  2. 2. Best Practices | Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever 2 · The message was consistent and engaging. All consumers received the same campaign message through each medium: “Dove makes my hair less brittle.” Unilever’s SlimFast campaign in the US had similar success: A combination of mass marketing, digital marketing, and in-store promotion increased sales and brand awareness.5INTERNET PLUS TRADITIONAL MEDIA ENHANCES OVERALL CAMPAIGN METRICSMetrixLab analyzed the effect of the campaign’s online advertising on recall (both aided andspontaneous), brand awareness, and purchase intent. The research agency used its Ad CampaignEvaluation (ACE) technology to record the results of exposures to each individual medium andcombinations of the three media. The results clearly showed that online advertising: · Enhances all brand metrics. The Dove online advertising produced a 5% increase in top-of-mind recall, ahead of both TV and print at 2% and –1%, respectively (see Figure 1). Brand attitude increased 8% via the Internet, exactly double the achievement of the print campaign. Internet ads increased purchase intent by 3%; this was comparable with print, although behind that of TV. · Provides synergy by reaching more of the target group. Combining media had a greater impact than any individual medium. The online campaign reached parts of the target audience that traditional media doesn’t touch, and added to the exposure of those reached by more than one channel.6 Exposure to all channels was responsible for increases of 14% in spontaneous recall, 11% in aided recall, 9% in brand attitude, and 8% in purchase intent.Figure 1 Online Ads Boost Total Media Mix Effectiveness Changes in metrics achieved through the campaign TV only Print only Internet only TV + print + Internet 15% 14% 11% 11% 10% 9% 9% 8% 8% 8% 8% 7% 7% 7% 5% 5% 4% 3% 3% 3% 2% 2% 0% –1% –5% Top-of-mind Spontaneous Aided recall Brand attitude Purchase intent recall recall Base: Consumers exposed to each medium Source: MetrixLab and Forrester Research, Inc.May 20, 2005 © 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  3. 3. Best Practices | Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever 3 · Is a cost-effective medium for driving purchase intent. Advertising via the Internet not only provided a positive boost to the traditional media, but was also the cheapest. The Internet proved 33% cheaper than TV and 55% cheaper than print to achieve the same incremental increase in purchase intent.7Dove Makes Optimization Of The Media Mix A RealityThe Dove campaign, while solely focused on advertising, successfully applied key integratedmarketing principles, consistently weaving together traditional and digital channels.8 The potentialfor the three media to overlap was high, affording Unilever the opportunity to optimize its adspending.9 MetrixLab took the study to the next level, investigating the individual contributionof each medium to the increase in purchase intent. The research firm found a minimum andmaximum contact frequency and concluded that the campaign had overexposure in some mediaand underexposure in others. · TV generates overexposure. Marketers have long suspected that not all spending on TV ads is necessary, but they haven’t known where the cutoff point is. By closely observing contact frequency and its positive effect on purchase intent, MetrixLab established a breakpoint frequency beyond which there was little, if any, change in purchase intent. For TV, this breakpoint was 8.1 impressions; clearly, spending on TV advertising — with an average of 9.4 impressions during the campaign — was inefficient. · The Internet results in underexposure. Analyzing the online ads in the same way demonstrated that fewer than three or four contacts had no effect on the purchase intent. But purchase intent was still rising at the highest measured contact frequency: five impressions. Contrary to current thinking that online frequency caps are necessary to limit the irritation factor for consumers, the Dove results suggest that brands need higher contact frequencies. The online Dove campaign averaged just 2.3 impressions, well below the minimum frequency — missing out on greater results. · Budget realignment can restore the balance. Increasing the online budget at the expense of print and TV now has a firm basis. The Dove campaign showed that, to achieve the optimal increase in purchase intent, the Internet should receive 12% of the budget and TV 55% — whereas in reality a typical Unilever campaign allocates 3% to the Internet and 68% to TV. The calculation of the optimal budget split uses the relative incremental costs of the various media to avoid any distortion from discounts and offers.May 20, 2005 © 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  4. 4. Best Practices | Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever 4ROLLING OUT THE SUCCESSBased on these results, Unilever intends to significantly increase its online budget in the second halfof 2005. The Dove product may be a low-involvement, high-purchase-frequency consumer product,tested under strict conditions; however, the opportunities that this study brings to light havesignificant impact for marketers and advertisers further afield: · Profiling: Know your audience and take the message to where they are. Unilever chose the MSN portal and Hotmail sites for the Dove campaign after careful media profiling of the target female persona. Marketers for travel or cars — both categories that consumers research online much more extensively than beauty products — can use firms like Nielsen/NetRatings to determine which portals or sites their target personas frequent, and allow exposure to TV, too.10 Volvo did just that with its S60 campaign, which combined TV, Web, email, and mobile marketing. It gained increased exposure and created more buzz.11 · The Internet complements the media mix. The online component of the Dove campaign delivered results in its own right, but the greater benefit was the overall synergy created. Dell also keeps its approach constant across media and precisely matches the messages in its direct- mail brochures with its online ads on partner sites like Wanadoo and the special offers section on its own Web site. Liquor brands like ABSOLUT and BACARDI can benefit in the same way as a rental service like Hertz from online campaigns that match and reinforce the message of their offline advertising. · Integrated marketing needs a consistent, integrated approach. Unilever keeps its media agency, ad agency, online media buyers, brand managers, and digital marketers on the same page with its Communication Channel Planning process. Whether selling a range of IT products and services like IBM, or providing a single product line of quality watches like Rolex, firms can develop a culturally appropriate media planning process to provide seamless communication of their brand. R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S ONLINE MEDIA RULES NEED A SHARP REVISION With concrete examples that online advertising yields results, marketers will assign significant budgets to the Internet. To make the jump attractive, online agencies need to get competitive. · Adjust online prices to compete with TV. In the long term, proof of ad effectiveness will see marketers flocking to use targeted online ads as part of their media mix. But in the short term, online media CPM rates — in some cases more than twice those of TV slots — are scaring away the ad revenues of brand managers that want to believe in online advertising.May 20, 2005 © 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  5. 5. Best Practices | Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever 5 Media providers will need to offer more guarantees of efficiency to give marketers incentives to invest. To make online advertising a truly mainstream medium, the industry will need to revise its pricing mechanism to charge for effectiveness, adopting, for example, metrics like Forrester’s cost per impact point (CPIP).12 · Refine frequency caps. Marketers need to revise their thinking on capping online ad frequency if they want to reach the optimum contact frequency. Ad servers like DoubleClick should boost the use of targeted consumer online activity to activate a smart flow of impressions, generating well-paced, cumulative effects instead of mass-blasted messages, if they are to quash the concerns of those in favor of caps on the premise that they are an interruption and annoyance to consumers.ENDNOTES1 Unilever specifically structured the campaign to give priority to the study. Instead of the eight portals Unilever would normally use, the campaign was restricted to MSN for simplicity of measurement.2 The target group was also split into primary and secondary groups. The primary target group consisted of Dutch women between the ages of 20 and 34; the secondary group consisted of Dutch women aged 35 to 49.3 The choice of online format is itself a key variable for consideration in executing an online ad campaign. Unilever chose two common ad formats for the Dove campaign: overlay banners and showcase banners. It also carried out trials of ad format effectiveness with the Axe and Hertog brands; however, the analyses of these trials were not completed in time for Unilever to apply the lessons learned directly to the design of the Dove campaign. See the February 7, 2005, Market Overview “What Online Ad Formats Work?”4 The advertising campaign was executed independent of other marketing activity for Dove during the same period, to allow the effects of the TV, print, and online advertising to be isolated and measured.5 Detailed analysis of Unilever’s Slim-Fast marketing campaign shows how they designed and planned the campaign as a classic integrated marketing case for maximum results. See the September 21, 2004, Best Practices “Integrated Marketing Best Practices: Unilever.”6 Studies of online advertising effectives for Unilever’s Axe brand, with a slightly younger, male target audience, yielded a bigger increase in purchase intent: 6%. This indicates that online ads are suitable for reaching a younger audience that traditional media do not otherwise reach.7 Source: MetrixLab. The weighting of the marginal cost per percentage-point increase in purchase intent for TV, print, and the Internet was 100:119:67.8 The key to integrated marketing lies in the application of digital and traditional channels in a way that is consistent for the consumer’s brand association and recognition. See the February 27, 2003, Brief “The Essentials Of Integrated Marketing.”May 20, 2005 © 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. Reproduction Prohibited
  6. 6. Best Practices | Online Advertising Case Study: Unilever 69 TV reached 88% of the target audience an average of 9.4 times; the majority of the budget (more than 55%) went to this medium. Online advertising had a net reach of 19% of the total target audience (increasing to 24% in the primary target group) and an average contact frequency of 2.3. Print succeeded in reaching 32% of the audience, but had a contact frequency of only 1.2. Given the low contact frequency, print was excluded from further optimization efforts.10 Many retailers futilely pursue online sales but ignore the influence of cross-channel shoppers on their offline sales. To thrive, retailers must right-channel: Focus Web sites on online sales or on driving sales offline. See the August 23, 2002, Report “Choosing The Right Retail Strategy.”11 The Volvo S60 campaign was an integrated marketing campaign centered around creating a stronger customer relationship. See the April 1, 2003, Brief “Integrated Marketing Best Practice: Volvo Cars.”12 Forrester has proposed a measurement called cost per impact point (CPIP). CPIP is a methodology for comparing different advertising media where marketers use both the cost of reaching and audience and the cost of achieving an impact. See the June 14, 2002, Report “When Online Branding Works.”Forrester is an independent technology research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice about technology’s impact on business. Business,marketing, and IT professionals worldwide collaborate with Forrester to align their technology investments with their business goals. Established in 1983,Forrester is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.© 2005, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Forrester, Forrester Oval Program, Forrester Wave, WholeView 2, Technographics, and TechRankings aretrademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. Forrester clients may make one attributed copy or slideof each figure contained herein. Additional reproduction is strictly prohibited. For additional reproduction rights and usage information, go to Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. To purchase reprints of this document,please email 36740