Monday, 29 July 2013
R/GA And McCormick - AdWeek Article
McCormick isn’t just in the seasonings business—it also offers meal inspirations by way of recipe suggestions on its website. With more consumers as budding chefs and Americans developing more of a taste for ethnic and gourmet flavors, that digital real estate has become even more important—and especially so considering that the company is going up against much larger rivals with fatter media budgets and with pure-play sites like that of Food Network thrown into the mix.
“Recipe views, in many respects, are a proxy for a sale,” explains Tony Effik, managing director, media and connections at the brand’s agency, R/GA, New York. “While McCormick is a significant business, it’s generally outspent by competitors, so we had to figure out a way to outsmart them by leveraging data to execute earned and paid media plans. We do media. But we also come up with creative, and data is the thing that holds all of that together.”
In 2012, McCormick spent $43.3 million in media, per Kantar. Compare that to $404 million at Campbell’s Soup. When the agency started working on the account in 2011, McCormick was getting 12 percent of the category’s total unique visitors, per comScore, and rivals outspent the brand four to one. Now, McCormick’s gets 25 percent of that traffic, and with only a minimal increase in the media spend. “What’s closing that gap is creating efficiencies through the use of data,” says Effik.
With its Responsive Media System, R/GA analyzed the online recipes market, seeking out anomalies and undervalued strategies. The agency studied media-spending patterns and set up a series of algorithmic rules across media channels including search, social, real-time media and promoted videos. R/GA then took what it unearthed and applied it to paid search for McCormick’s Lawry’s brand.
McCormick’s and R/GA decided to leverage Lawry’s West Coast heritage in a test using search and Mexican recipes. The agency split Lawry’s media budget between Western states like California (where Lawry’s originated) and the rest of the country. Two data points were key: the clickthrough rate and cost-per-recipe view. The national market did well for clickthroughs. But more interestingly for R/GA was data from the West Coast where the post-click action rate was 20 percent to 60 percent greater than in the rest of the country, prompting it to tailor the media plan geographically.
“That learning allows us to explore the same rule in other channels, so now we can run display advertising in a more focused way on the West Coast if we want to,” says Effik. “We’re thinking about how the budget responds to the market and how we make changes, sometimes in real time, against the dynamics of the marketing using data. Response for us is not whether something succeeded or failed—it’s an opportunity to learn. What we’re learning from search we can apply to other areas of marketing.”