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Beyond the Page: Woman's Day, Spark PHD and Unilever clean up with paid, owned and earned media strategy

To launch a new Unilever product called Persil Ultimate in New Zealand, Bauer was briefed to help show busy mums how using it could save them time to focus on the important things. To do that, it combined editorial endorsement from Woman’s Day, offered advice from food columnist Chelsea Winter and created an online hub where readers could share time saving tips. And, as Ben Fahy writes in the final instalment of the Beyond the Page series, the Moments that Matter campaign worked a treat for all parties and took out the best sales solution at the Magazine Media Awards.

November 2, 2015 | features

Anna Magasiva (left) and Kaylene Hurley

Last year, Unilever’s Persil brand launched a new liquid product called Ultimate, and the key message was that it was a big time saver because it did laundry effectively and in one step. So, after being briefed by media agency Spark PHD, Bauer took that idea of making busy mums' lives easier and put an editorial lens on it.

“We basically sat down and we thought about who could we use,” says Kaylene Hurley, who has recently taken on the role of Bauer’s agency sales director, replacing Suzanne Bull. “We spoke to [Woman’s Day editor] Sido Kitchin about it and she was onboard. The theme of the campaign was saving time and the magazine is all about taking time for you [as evidenced by its most recent ad campaign 'Take time for you, nobody die']. And we initially narrowed it down to Sido, Kate Hawkesby or Chelsea Winter.”

Winter was the Woman’s Day food columnist at the time, she was everywhere and reader feedback showed that she was extremely popular. She was also accustomed to the commercial side of things through her involvement with Woman’s Day Recommended, an endorsement scheme that was created by Hurley and Kitchin for advertisers and was also an important part of the Persil Ultimate campaign.

“They really love that seal of approval for the brand, but they wanted a face for the brand,” says Hurley. “They really wanted it to resonate with Woman’s Day readers. That was who they were trying to attract.” 

Hub life

Have you entered your tip onto the Persil Ultimate Moments that Matter Hub? Check out this video of New Zealand women chatting to Chelsea Winter Moments that Matter to them! http://www.womansday.co.nz/lifestyle/moments-that-matter/

Posted by Persil New Zealand on Monday, December 8, 2014

The print advertorials featuring Winter’s time saving recipes and social media activity on the accounts of Persil, Winter and Woman’s Day drove readers to the Moments that Matter online hub—and to the video content that related to the recipes. And with Bauer’s research showing that its big audience of mothers was 92 percent more likely than the typical New Zealander to have entered an online competition in the last month, it asked women to post their own time saving tips to go into the draw to win a spring clean, a year’s supply of Persil Ultimate and some Chelsea Winter recipe books. 

“It might seem a little bit odd [to have Winter as the face of the campaign],” says Hurley. “She’s not a mother. But most mums cook, so they can relate to her. And she’s really approachable.”

The campaign resonated with readers, with 26 percent of the total Woman’s Day unique audience visiting the hub, 19,066 views of the videos and over 1,200 tips contributed online, from giving your children pegs to play with when you’re hanging out the washing to trying to make your kids fold the washing by turning it into a game.

And it also worked for Unilever: it overachieved on its own share target; it grew the category post-campaign; and its key competitor showed decline while the campaign was live. 

Paul Gardiner

Riding the content marketing train

Compared to the glory days when advertisers just bought display ads in magazines, campaigns like this are very bespoke and have a lot of moving parts. But they’re great when they come off and they show how magazine brands are now so much more than paper. 

When it comes to content marketing, commercial director Paul Gardiner says there are basically two options for brands: keep total control or let go and have faith. And he says the more progressive clients understand it’s not about them, it’s about how their brand fits into people’s lives.

“I think clients are starting to realise they need to take some more risks,” he says. “If you don’t want to take a risk, do an advertorial. But if you don’t, let us do it, trust us, we know our audience, and we can create content that resonates.”

And Hurley says Unilever was firmly in the latter camp. 

“We had a conference call with Unilever Australia and they said the brand is kind of secondary,” says Hurley. “I thought it was quite ballsy. The main message was about mums having more time to do the things they need to do ... More and more people are seeing the benefit of having more subtle branding." 

When you look at some of the impressive work Netflix is doing with publishers to promote its shows, and the type of content that brands are creating themselves, the growing appetite for—and, according to some, impressive results from—content marketing is quite a promising trend for magazines.

“It’s about content creation and we’re experts at that. So those conversations have increased,” says Anna Magasiva, who has recently taken on the job of sales director, women’s weeklies. 

Subtleties are also important in marketing and for a company like Unilever, which often repurposes international material in different markets, the risk is that a message tailored to an Australian audience might not resonate in the same way with a New Zealand audience. So she says this kind of content-led campaign is a great way to create a local connection that’s relevant to this market.

But in an era where accountability is demanded, Gardiner says brands, agencies and publishers need to know what the measureables and deliverables around the content are.

“It’s a murky area. What are the expectations? There are so many variables attached to content marketing. How many times do they want their name mentioned? Or do they want their name mentioned at all?”

And when it comes to editorial endorsement, where does the line get drawn?

“If it’s relevant,” says Hurley. “Sido was very enamoured with the whole [Moments that Matter] thing because it resonated with her readers because they’re mothers and they’re time poor.”

And she says editorial integrity plays a big part.

“It might not seem that way, but it does. [Kitchin] wouldn’t have let us partner with a client that didn’t add value to the readers. There was all that rushing woman research coming out at that point, so it all just fell into place and it worked within the context of the magazine.”

Bauer recently conducted some research into influencers based on a presentation The Listener’s Pamela Stirling gave to Carat. And because a lot of briefs are coming in asking to work with columnists, it did more research into that realm and presented the results to the market recently.

Editorial endorsement might not work with all titles and news and current affairs is always a tricky one. But in some sectors, and primarily in what Bauer chief executive Paul Dykzeul called service journalism around topics like houses, food, fashion or beauty, it can work well for all parties.  

“Everyone wants reassurance,” says Magasiva. “They want someone to tell them it’s the right thing.”

And because people are being bombarded with information, she believes magazines can be a great filter.

So what about the rising popularity of bloggers and vloggers, particularly in the beauty space? Is that concerning to traditional media outlets? 

"The thing in magazines’ favour is that we’ve already got the credibility of those editorial staff members. People know them, they know their names," Magasiva says. 

Hurley says it has tried to commercialise its social audiences through giveaways and competitions (it has around 57,000 Facebook fans), but, just like the Persil campaign, she says it has to work to each channel’s audience and it has to be something they want.

All care, all responsibility

Advertising agencies are renowned for showing plenty of care and attention for the fireworks at the start of a campaign before moving on to the next shiny thing, whereas it could be argued that media companies—and certainly media companies that publish magazines—seem to show more care and attention over the long term. This was a launch campaign, so as well as advertising on TV, it also had brand advertising running across Bauer's other titles. But they also wanted to have a long tail. And that was certainly the case with this campaign, which ran in print for three months and online for six.

Gardiner says Bauer now has a number of good content marketing case studies and Hurley points to the latest work from its Media Collective for Spark’s home security system Morepork as a good example.

Shelley's favourite things

Our editor, Shelley, shares her favourite things. Love her things? You can shop her look here > http://bit.ly/1YEDcEg Thanks to Morepork

Posted by Your Home & Garden on Thursday, September 24, 2015

“It was so good. Shelley [Ferguson, managing editor of Your Home and Garden and co-host of The Block NZ] is in this video talking about all the things that are valuable in her life. And it’s so heartfelt. But you don’t talk about the brand. It’s about the emotional, intangible thing. That seems to be happening more and more.” 

Gardiner says its work with Sovereign was another good example of insight-led content that matched up a client’s desires with a magazine’s audience.

“They wanted to own the health and wellbeing space. So we generated insights from the All Woman Talk panel and those insights were fed through to our editorial teams. Quality content was generated and ran across all of our women’s and premium titles. And each magazine was taking a different angle on the insights. So to me that’s the ultimate in content marketing. It’s a win-win-win.”

While Persil’s campaign was led by Woman’s Day, Hurley says the briefs are increasingly about targeting a particular audience.

“So it’s about looking for that single idea that we can transfer across all the titles, as opposed to a lead title,” she says. 

At a time when plenty of media companies are all selling across different platforms and having to put their allegiances to particular brands—or particular media channels—to the side, Hurley says it can be quite tough to give up your brand.

“It’s human nature, but it’s all about the idea now and where that’s applied best is where it goes.”

In Australia, Bauer has a separate digital and print sales divisions. But in New Zealand there is one team selling across both. A lot of briefs come in combined and Hurley says Persil is a good example of how they can work together.

“We’re doing what the agencies are doing which is bringing all their teams together,” says Gardiner. 

The competition keeps coming

While circulation and readership of the print product have fallen in the mass market weekly category in recent years, with average net paid circulation for Woman's Day down to 82,578 in the latest numbers, Hurley says people tend to forget that it is still an extremely popular product (according to Nielsen's data, it ranks as the 68th most purchased product in New Zealand supermarkets by unit sales and 48th by value sales in the 12 months to October 4, 2015). And like The New York Times, which recently said it has the biggest audience in its history across all channels, she says the same is true of Woman’s Day. But, just like many other media brands, the issue is that low online ad rates compared to juicy rates in print mean those big audiences aren’t bringing in as much money. Even so, Hurley says the new website, which was soft-launched in August with Colgate, Trilogy and other beauty brands as partners, is meeting all its KPIs in terms of revenue. 

The site is really focused on the entertainment and celebrity space, with its food content now living on the Food to Love hub. Some have asked whether MediaWorks’ new Scout website could eat into its share (NZME also recently launched its Spy brand), but Gardiner isn’t worried. 

Woman’s Day would never write an article about NZME making redundancies,” he says. “I don’t think it knows what it is. And that celebrity category is so content thirsty. I don’t know if they’ve got the resources.”

With the consolidation of the mass market weeklies after Bauer purchased a range of APN’s titles including New Zealand Woman’s Weekly—and with New Idea now being produced in Australia by Pacific Magazines—Gardiner says things are looking good for Bauer.

New Idea has been in a holding pattern for the past few years, so it’s been going nowhere and hasn’t been generating a lot of ads. From a circulation point of view, we should see an upside because it won’t have local content. And the issues that did well in this market for New Idea were locally promoted content. They’re not going to get those spikes. So we should do well.” 

And just as the readers are gravitating towards locally-made content, so too, it seems, are the advertisers. 

Judges' comments: “An outstanding entry, the judges struggled to find any weaknesses. The solution was based on clear strategy, a single minded creative idea based on consumer insight. The campaign results demonstrated an effective solution, moving the dial in a highly competitive category during a clear period of no activity on other media.”

Highly Commended: Tourism Australia/OMD NZ and Tangible Media Content Marketing - Dish: "The judges want to acknowledge this campaign, which was mammoth in scale and superbly executed.” 

  • This story is part of a content partnership with the Magazine Publishers Association

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