The Back Story: As many pregnant women and new mothers know, prenatal vitamins are enormous—horse pills, if you will. In fact, it’s the number one complaint heard by obstetricians from pregnant women across the board. While 60% of women say they struggle to take the pills they need to support their own health and the health of their unborn baby, roughly 20% give up altogether.
To combat the scourge of pills almost too big to swallow, California-based prenatal nutrition company NutraBella created bite-size Bellybar Chocolate Vitamins and developed a tongue-in-cheek campaign to support the new product with special hands-on assistance from digital agency Resource Interactive, a company established, owned, and operated by women.
NutraBella’s founders, Meredith Lincoln and Leslie Sagalowicz, were selected as winners of Resource Interactive’s first RI:30 contest, a nationwide competition designed to celebrate the agency’s 30th anniversary by helping another women-owned company expand using digital strategies and tactics.
“NutraBella ticked all the boxes for us as a strong company led by two innovative, educated, eager women who really wanted to hold their own in the marketplace,” says Kristyn Wilson, associate director of media relations at Resource Interactive.
The Strategy: Before diving into the amusingly named PWAHP (“Pregnant Women Against Horse Pills”) campaign, Resource Interactive did research into which channels NutraBella should focus on and how to address the women they found there.
“We had to figure out exactly where the conversations were happening,” says Erin Cannizzo, senior manager of client services at Resource Interactive. “For example, there’s definitely more of a consumer focus on the Facebook page, and then there’s Twitter, where women engage more with the medical community.”
Ultimately, Resource Interactive discovered that the majority of engagement was taking place around the brand’s Facebook page. Pregnant women as a group, particularly in early pregnancy, engage heavily online, sharing information, tips, and advice on a variety of social sites and forums. It was potent consumer insight for the brand. While most of NutraBella’s distribution previously was through brick-and-mortar stores and more traditional offline channels, the brand realized it needed to, in the words of NutraBella cofounder Lincoln, “meet women where they are and celebrate with them there—and that’s online.”
“Online is especially powerful for this population, particularly in their first trimester because they’re hungry for information, but their pregnancy probably isn’t public yet,” Lincoln says. “It’s a great place to learn, read, and share with a level of anonymity.”
The campaign’s goal, says Cannizzo, was to produce a sensation around Bellybar as a kind of crusade that extends beyond the product itself.
“Similar to how there are support groups out there for pregnant women, we were looking to create a movement around the pill itself,” she says. “We wanted to be humorous, but also sensitive to this emotional time these women are going through and make an emotional connection with them, as well.”
The campaign centered on a series of lightly wry videos poking fun at the horrors of horse pills. To create buzz and encourage word of mouth, the videos were pushed out through social: Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook. NutraBella also took out a small media buy with Café Mom and the Café Mom network, and used sampling and giveaways to drive awareness.
The Creative: The main video features a young pregnant woman who shares her techniques for “getting them down.” In one instance, she swaddles a truly immense-looking prenatal vitamin in a piece of yellow American cheese (“a horse pill in a blanket”); in another she uses a mallet to break down a massive tablet into a powdery mountain of sneeze-inducing “horse pill sprinkles” she then dumps on top of a muffin.
The Results: Resource Interactive worked with NutraBella throughout 2012. Since the campaign’s launch at the beginning of last year, average weekly sales off of NutraBella’s website (bellybarproducts.com) more than doubled, and Facebook fans increased by almost 60%.
The Takeaway: In the words of Resource Interactive founder and CEO Nancy Kramer, “digital is the great equalizer”; a channel that gives small brands as much reach as the larger players.
“Digital gives people different unique opportunities to reach out to consumers in ways that didn’t exist for them before,” says Resource Interactive’s Wilson. “They have more control over their owned, earned, and paid media, and when that’s combined with digital, you see great outcomes.”