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ad:tech Chicago – Big Brands and Podcasting

Posted on Jul 25th, 2006
Written by Lee Odden
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    With a slight delay, this standing room only session started off with Moderator Henry Copeland of introducing the speakers which included: Michael Moore of Nestle Purina Pet Care, Robert Claypoole “Consumer and Professional Relationship Marketing” for Johnson and Johnson Vision Care division, Heather Sefcik of Henkel Consumer Adhesives (Duck Tape) and Brian Bloom of Ligget Stashower, a marketing PR firm that works with the Duck Tape brand.

    Heather and Brian Bloom did a tag team presentation with Heather starting things off by offering a quick Duck Tape 101 history. Starting in WWII, Duck Tape today is a household name with a cult like following. Duck Tape has “become cool”.

    Duck Tape decided to do a test with podcasts to supplement programs and expand market reach using some pretty creative ideas including: A Duck Tape prom, a contest where kids were encouraged to attend prom wearing outfits made of duck tape. The promotion received local and national play. They also sponsored the world’s largest duck tape flag day, with a flag the size of a basketball court, Rock About the Roll, which was based on user submitted songs about Duck Tape and the Avon Heritage Duck Tape Festival which highlighted product features and uses.

    Next up was Michael Moore of Purina to talk about their new media and podcasting efforts available at
    The first version of Purina downloads was launched in 2005 offering mobile ring tones and wallpapers, pet care tips via SMS and RSS feeds. Version 2 launched early July 2006 with an enhanced mobile offering, aggregated RSS feeds and audio/video podcasts.

    Purina created the podcasts by taking radio show content and editing the audio with bumper music. They also segmented video into 5 minute portions as video podcasts. The focus of the initiative was offer existing content in a way that would be appealing to their audience without creating new content.

    Examples repurposing content included: Customer dog pictures available as RSS feed. Cat advice, consumer generated stories about their pets and dog care advice from veterinarians all available via RSS feed.

    Success metrics for Purina showed that ring tones were most popular followed by wall paper and tips via SMS. It was interesting that audio podcasts far more popular than video podcasts. Overall usage of the content is growing and the effect of promotions could be seen with slight peaks. Purina’s agency was even able to get iTunes to create a dedicated page for Purina called Purina Petcasting.

    Next up is Robert Claypoole of Johnson and Johnson. Podcasting was a great choice for a “test and learn” and to establish benchmarking for other emerging media.

    The podcasting initiative started out by creating five episode talk shows over five weeks targeting teens. The shows were hosted by a pair of teens “Heather and Janelle” who helped create the editorial strategy. Initial podcast branding of Acuvue was very subtle, but by the last show was much more direct.

    Johnson and Johnson attracted an audience to the podcasts through emails to super advocates and internal data base, distributed content via iTunes, word of mouth, banner advertising, celebrities and shout outs from other podcasts.

    Results exceeded goals in terms of listeners, downloads, brand connection, buzz with internal and external PR. Five weeks turned into a 5 month project, “thanks to lawyers”.

    What did Johnson and Johnson learn?. Measure everything: high level to detail. It’s also important to find authentic chemistry with hosts. Production of the podcasts should be good, but not “too good”. Listeners appreciate forums for participation and feedback. With editorial, insist on authentic language. Keep in mind that the approval process can heavily impact the release schedule. One particularly important lesson was the need to integrate into existing marketing. The audience is savvy, so be transparent about the brand as far as the content.

    The final slide showed this message: “If only our lawyers were excited about this as everyone else” to the laughter of the audience.

    The presentations were followed by a Q and A.

    For J&J podcasting is more workable because there is a bit more control over the content and exposure/interaction with it compared to blogging. There are legal issues to be dealt with in blogging

    Audience: How do you make podcasts search engine friendly?
    Purina: It’s something we’re working on.
    J&J: Linking has been important for rankings.

    Audience: What were the direct response results?
    Purina: We do a lot of direct response via email and the open rate results they are seeing with podcasts are similar to email.
    J&J: Direct response was lower than their lowest expectations. For repeat programs, they will be sure to incorporate with other marketing programs.

    Audience: What do you think about advertising on existing podcasts rather than creating your own?
    Purina: Tried that and audience perceived it as an overt branding effort. It was easier to create podcasts with repurposed content.
    J&J: In order to work in the branding for J&J, they needed to create their own podcast rather than reaching out to a similar podcast because it would probably ruin the podcast if that happened.

    Audience: Where do you see budgets going?
    J&J: The budget follows what you’re trying to accomplish: PR, branding or direct response.
    Purina: Seeing a shift in budgets more towards new media.
    Duck Tape: Have not traditionally any advertising, so podcasting worked well.

    Audience: What about vidcasting?
    Duck Tape: Looking into it, but budget is a concern. Vidcasting should be an ideal medium.

    For the most part, this session seemed to focus on podcasting more than on blogging or vidcasting. But that makes sense since podcasting offers more control than outright blogging.

    For more coverage of ad:tech Chicago 2006, visit the ad:tech blog.