Personalised marketing close to the heart (or stomach)

Something you may know is that when it comes to marketing, mobile is very personal. Mobile marketing is so effective for brands as they literally take residence in the consumer’s pocket. If said consumer is anything like me, they’re probably on that device for let’s say, an hour a day? (leaving for work on 100% battery, and coming home on 11% is sadly not a result of being on the end of important business calls). Luckily for me I’m not a minority, with adults spending 2.8 hours per day on their mobiles in 2015, and 89% of their time spent on media being through mobile apps.

Screen Shot 2016-08-24 at 9.34.04 PM

When considering that 2.8 hours is more than double the amount of time we spend eating per day, I was alarmed as I also spend a large amount of my time doing just that, eating. But it’s those who are combing these two elements, eating and mobile, that are at the absolute forefront of personalised mobile marketing. American mayonnaise producer Hellmanns developed a campaign where an app enabled users to interact with chefs while they create dishes using the product (see video below).

Hellmanns were trying to inspire consumers to use mayonnaise in a range of dishes, not just sandwiches, and the mobile-messaging app ‘whatsapp’ allows one-on-one engagement to achieve this. The results for Hellmanns were phenomenal – with less than a $900 media investment, the 10-day campaign had:

  • Over 8,000 users registered
  • Four million+ people impacted
  • $150K+ in earned media
  • 65 minutes per user interacting with the brand
  • 1 in every 2 website visitors signed up for the service
  • More than 500 dishes cooked and shared

Hellmanns weren’t the first to explore one-on-one mobile engagement, with Smirnoff launching its #PurePotential campaign. The campaign invited users to post a picture of inside their fridge (however manky and underwhelming), which Smirnoff ‘mixologists’ used as inspiration to create appealing cocktails (see below).


As a result, fridges were uploaded, drinks were created, viewed and shared over 200,000 times. The #PurePotential campaign created a highly engaged audience aged 18-30, and grew Smirnoff’s Instagram by 676% while increasing overall sales by 20%.

Both the Hellmanns and Smirnoff campaigns brilliantly integrate their products into the lives of their consumers through user-generated content, resulting in engagement and ultimately mass circulation. It leads me to consider the future of mobile marketing …Will brands position campaigns towards short-term ‘viral’ attention seeking promotions, or seek to establish apps that create user engagement over an extended period?


5 thoughts on “Personalised marketing close to the heart (or stomach)

  1. Great read! I hadn’t heard of either of these campaigns, looks like they were a huge success. I think anything that is unique in engaging people in food or alcohol is bound to do well.

    The results from the Smirnoff campaign are amazing – increasing sales by 20% and Instagram followers by 676%! I think the main appeal for users of this campaign is the personalised approach Smirnoff have taken. By sending a personalised video back to customers, it shows commitment and a genuine effort to engage them. No wonder it did so well.

    Do you think campaigns such as these are the best way to boost sales and engagement? And what is the risk in terms of investment vs. results? Surely these campaigns can be expensive!


    1. Thanks for the feedback Maddie!

      That’s a great point about how engaging food/alcohol can be, you only need to look at the ‘tasty’ videos on Facebook that have gone viral to see how popular video content and food can be. Campaigns such as Smirnoff’s and Hellmann’s that encourage involvement with the audience appear to be the most effective in terms of establishing engagement. As you mention, the personalised aspect of these campaign’s shows a commitment to their audience, and even if every viewer is not personally talking to/connecting with the brand, the overall message it sends is that they care about their consumers which is a massive tick. Doing a quick search on the “most effective social media marketing campaigns” supports this idea of user involvement enhancing engagement, with companies such as Air Canada and Samsung both encouraging their audience to tag them in their Instagram’s in order to win something etc. Cost would definitely be a major concern with launching campaigns such as this. For companies looking to advertise on mediums such as Instagram, the cost can range between $500,000 to $1m per month just for exposure (let alone production costs), so you’d want to be pretty sure you’re onto a winner. However, for a large scale brands such as Smirnoff, a 20% rise in sales would certainly be measured as a huge success! Especially when considering the increased reach they would have in the future through additional followers on their page.


  2. Hi Matt,

    Such a great post – I’ve never heard of those strategies before so was very interesting to learn about them.
    That is truly alarming to know that we spend more time on our phones than we do eating, however it doesn’t surprise when you look around and everyone is looking down!
    The video about Hellmann’s Whatapp “WhatsCook” technology was absolutely amazing! I wish we had that app available to us in Australia because I would definitely use it. What an innovative and creative way to get consumers to think of their product in a whole new perspective. Honestly, I would only consider mayonnaise to be a sandwich supplement or to go alongside chicken schnitzel so I’m not surprised that Hellman’s wanted to expand their product in the minds of consumers.
    Its amazing that Hellmann’s spent such little capital to gain phenomenal results. This proves how effective one-on-one engagement can be due to the personalisation of the brand with each consumer.
    I love the idea of the taking a photo of your fridge and getting personalised cocktails created for you! I was only thinking the other day how I would love a similar concept for smoothies.
    Both companies are certainty listening to their customers and giving them want they want.
    I think that the future of mobile marketing is forever changing and that a brand can curate marketing campaigns for both short and long term. I think the advantages of short term are they are impactful and are spread through word of mouth as well as through social media (if done correctly) creating a buzz around the product/service that increases consumer awareness. This in fact creates long term customers from which companies can generate user engagement over an extended period of time. I think that it’s crucial a brand has a solid consumer following before it starts establishing long life apps. It also depends on the industry! I think the difficult thing for a lot of brands is getting consumers to be consistently engaged with their app over an extended period of time. I know myself, that I may download an app but if I’m not using it regularly I will just delete it.
    Great post, thanks, Katie


    1. Thanks Katie!

      My thoughts on mayonnaise were very similar to yours, a simple condiment for sandwiches with no other real uses. Really interesting to see how a brand tries to expand the potential uses of their product. Similarly I’ve noticed recently how vegemite advertise the different recipes and ways to eat their product (anything other than on toast sounded initially disgusting to me) but clearly it gets people talking about their brand which is hugely beneficial. That’s a really good point you make about both short and long term campaigns. Both trade driving and retention tactics are important in a strong marketing mix, and it seems a combination of the tactics you discuss can lead a brand to having sustainable awareness over a long period of time.


  3. No worries! Yes, vegemite have certainly tried a few different ideas that have made it to supermarket shelves but not sure how well stocked they are in people’s pantries… yuk! (I’m not a vegemite fan in general!!)
    Yes, I think that a combination is key and really integrating the different elements of the marketing mix to create contingency.


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