How do you get across the idea that a century-old brand is even more relevant today than it was 100 years ago, and to an online audience? Quaker Oats worked with Yahoo! to reach consumers with that message, and found that online exposure led to better awareness—and more intent to buy—offline.
Almost everyone has heard of Quaker Oats. It’s one of the most venerable food brands in the United States, having registered its first trademark in 1877. But while Quaker Oats’ “Old Quaker” logo and its iconic oats canisters are easily recognizable symbols (in fact, according to the company, they have about 100% household recall), the brand wasn’t always seen as having relevance in today’s culture. “People tended to think of Quaker Oats as their mom’s brand, and we wanted to change that,” says Janice Tennant, Sr. Marketing Manager, Quaker Equity at PepsiCo, Quaker Oats’ parent company.
That’s why Quaker hired the firm, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to create its “Go Humans Go” integrated campaign, designed to show the nutritional value of the Quaker oat to today’s audience and to create new relevance and customer loyalty for the brand. Yahoo! partnered with OMD Worldwide to execute the digital campaign.
Quaker and Yahoo! ran a U.S.-targeted campaign across the Yahoo! homepage. The floating ad featured an animated and interactive champion flying a jet pack, fueled by Quaker Oats canisters, across the page. The campaign ran for two half-days, a week apart. To help track the campaign results, Yahoo! partnered with media measurement specialist The Nielsen Company.
Key to the campaign’s success was its integration into the Yahoo! homepage. This helped Quaker to “fill the top of the funnel” of the campaign with the mass audience on Yahoo!—a homepage audience of more than 156 million users in the U.S. when the campaign went live. “FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC. It’s almost as if Yahoo! is the fifth network,” Tennant says.
Reaction to the campaign was swift and positive. “Best ad by far in the longest time!” said one Yahoo! user. “I loved opening my computer and seeing ‘Go Humans Go’—what a way to start my morning at work. Will need to try a Quaker Oats product in the morning. Sold me!”
The numbers back up the user feedback. Quaker had more than 70 million impressions each time the ad ran, well beyond their expectations. Moreover, search volume on Quaker Oats on both days went up 28% and 21%, respectively.
For Quaker, though, the numbers describing the impact of the ads offline were what really mattered. According to Nielsen:
- The campaign showed a marked increase in incremental sales as ad exposure brought about more buyers, greater purchase frequency, and higher quantities on the average purchase occasion.
- Dollar and ounce sales for the brand were 77% greater among households exposed to the advertising when compared to households that were not exposed.
- The short-term sales impact to the brand was more than $1.2 million.
Overall, Quaker Oats’ campaign on Yahoo! yielded greater awareness and reach, deeper penetration and increased sales. It also demonstrated to Quaker, which hasn’t traditionally done much digital marketing, the effectiveness of Internet advertising. “We found we could get similar exposure to users online as we could on some television networks,” says Tennant. “And what we showed them online directly affected their behavior in the stores.”
About Quaker Oats: Quaker brands have been around for over a century. They are symbols of quality, great taste, and nutrition. It is among the four largest manufacturers of cereals with popular brands like Cap’n Crunch® and Life®, in addition to Quaker Oats. Quaker is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PepsiCo.
About OMD Worldwide: OMD specializes in direct marketing campaign planning, digital media, and consumer research and metrics. The agency is a unit of Omnicom Media.
About Goodby, Silverstein & Partners: A unit of the Omnicom Group, G.S. & P. is one of the world’s most respected and most awarded advertising agencies. The company has over 500 employees serving a broad array of national and international accounts.
About Nielsen: The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information. The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries.
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