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all Uses Surprising Customer Insight to Boost Engagement and Sales

Coming up with new campaign ideas is part of many marketers’ cyclical routines. Brainstorm, execute, analyze—wash, dry, repeat. But for functional brands like all laundry detergent, this process can be even more of a chore.

“Laundry is hard,” says Lora Van Velsor, VP of marketing for the Sun Products–owned brand. “Nobody is doing more laundry. It’s not one of those categories where you can promote it and people will consume more.”

Van Velsor wanted to find a way to boost engagement among its target audience (households with kids), expand its digital presence, create more of an emotional bond with consumers, and, of course, drive sales. After learning a surprising insight from focus groups—that moms lovingly referred to their kids as Pigpens—all’s agency Merkley + Partners decided to tie the stain-fighting detergent to the beloved Charles Schulz comic character. There was another compelling reason, as well. According to a March 2015 all press release, The Peanuts have a brand awareness rate of 96% among moms, a daily readership of 45 million, and a social media reach of more than one billion impressions. With this insight in hand, all launched a multiyear, omnichannel campaign leading up to and in conjunction with the November 2015 debut of The Peanuts Movie

Sorting through the channels

The campaign, which debuted last March, kicked off with a national TV commercial in which the Peanuts characters are portrayed by live actors.

all supplemented the spot with content marketing and social activations. The brand published a slew of articles on BuzzFeed—including a “Which Peanuts Character Is Your Kid?” quiz—and launched a search for the World’s Dirtiest Kid, a user-generated content sweepstakes in which parents could submit images of their own messy kids on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the chance to win free all and Peanuts products. The brand promoted the contest and linked to its BuzzFeed articles on social. These posts were targeted at households with children. It also uploaded its TV spot to YouTube.

Providing these digital and social touchpoints is important, Van Velsor notes, because it’s where consumers are spending their time. In fact, she says, all now dedicates nearly 30% of its total media spend to digital.

“Three or four years ago we spent probably less than 5% of our total media spend on the digital space,” Van Velsor says. “We really evolved that over time. Peanuts gave us a chance to bring that to life with the campaign. But probably two years ago we hit the 20 [or] 23% mark, and now we’re at 30%.”

After launching the TV spot, which ran from March to October, all conducted market research to measure its ad’s reach, customer persuasion, and brand persuasion. “It was actually one of our highest scoring TV ads that we’ve ever developed,” Van Velsor says. “So, we knew we had a really hot idea.”

Loading up in retail

Building on its initial success, all entered phase two of its campaign; from September to November it promoted the screening of The Peanuts Movie in theaters. This phase was more retail-focused. Consumers could earn $5 off their ticket to the movie by purchasing $10 of all products, taking a picture of the receipt, and then sending it to all by text, email, or online submission. Participants would then receive a code, which they would have to enter on the campaign’s website to receive a $5 e-Movie Cash Certificate.

all promoted the discount offer through targeted social posts, in-store activations, and retailer and film partners’ websites. It also launched a new television commercial, made in partnership with The Peanuts Movie’s animation company Blue Sky Studios, that mirrored the same CGI animation featured in the film. This spot was posted on social media, as well.

Referring to previous cycles

But the campaign didn’t end with the final screening. The third phase of the campaign, which launched this past February and runs until the end of April, centers on the BLU-RAY, Digital HD, and DVD release of the film. Much like the previous stage of the campaign, consumers can earn discounts for the movie by buying all’s products.  When consumers purchase $10 of all products and the movie, they can receive a $3 mail-in rebate by sending all their original receipt and mail-in rebate form. The form asks customers for their name, address, phone number, email address, and UPC number for purchased all products, which Van Velsor says the brand can use for future marketing initiatives. “It’s about getting consumer information where they want to share it,” she notes.

In terms of promoting this phase of the campaign, all is encouraging consumers to participate in the mail-in rebate offer through targeted social posts that link to the brand’s website. It’s also running another TV commercial to drive awareness for the movie’s BLU-RAY, Digital HD, and DVD release, as well as print and in-store ads. 

Wringing out the results

Although all is still accumulating results from the latest stage of the campaign, the results from the earlier phases have been positive.

According to Van Velsor, the brand’s engagement rates are now 2.5 times higher than the industry’s average, and positive social sentiment has jumped 23%. The company also experienced a 4% lift in total U.S. dollar sales in Q4, even though Van Velsor says sales in the overall category grew under 3%. All has been able to sustain this growth, too. When Van Velsor spoke to DMN in mid-March, she said that the brand had experienced a 7% growth rate in U.S. dollar sales over the past 12 weeks, surpassing the industry growth rate, which she noted was 5%. In fact, the campaign has been so successful that Van Velsor intends to continue all’s partnership with the Peanuts for years to come.

It seems like Van Velsor has been able to take away some lessons, too—mainly that she can bring fun to a practical brand.

“Laundry doesn’t have to just be about ‘here’s a stain demo’ or ‘here’s me pouring laundry detergent into a washing machine,’” she says. “I can actually build the business through engaging emotional lifestyle communications that sell the benefit, too…. In a category that tends to be overly functional, it’s great to see that something like this can break through and still bring the benefit to life.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story said all retargeted customers who participated in the in-theater promotion and notified them of the movie’s BLU-RAY, Digital HD, and DVD release; however, Van Velsor misspoke and later informed Direct Marketing News that the brand actually didn’t do retargeting for this campaign. 

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