For many people, cleaning is boring – but people themselves and the choices they make are very interesting. When Unilever set out to drive consumption of Jif creams in the Gulf region, they cleverly delved into consumer insights to create messaging that appealed to people’s passions. By tapping precisely into the key interests of the audience, Jif could bring its messaging to life in the context of people’s own lives. Jif launched a campaign leveraging the scale of YouTube in a micro-targeted fashion based on audience data informing both the creative and media strategies. It was a beautifully executed example of a streamlined, collaborative approach to the full digital planning cycle.

In a competitive category with numerous brands claiming superior performance, Jif needed to find an innovative way to break away from the crowd. Setting themselves an ambitious goal of delivering a brilliant campaign in only six weeks, Jif eliminated silos between teams and launched a coordinated effort taking in every angle of the digital planning cycle.

From the start, the Jif team wanted to use data to power their creatives and to precisely target them in a way that was cost effective. They came up with a plan to develop standard copy that could be applied to a very wide set of creatives accurately tailored for hyper-specific contexts and audiences.

“We really wanted to understand the micro-moment of the audience and tailor the creative to that, based on insights from data,” explains Daniel Shepherd, director of digital planning at PHD. “People are interesting, so how do you make this product relate to their interests? For example, it someone’s into music, Jif can become interesting to them if you show how well it works in cleaning a guitar case – that can take you from no interest to a lot of interest, based on personalized reach.”

For the cleaning challenges you can't skip, there's always JIF #Jifarabia

With consumption of digital video on mobile devices continuing to escalate in the GCC, the Jif team and their agency PHD took the decision to launch their campaign on YouTube. “TV can get you large reach, but on YouTube you can get hyper-targeted, personalized reach that delivers beautiful results. There’s enough volume to develop different creatives tailored to a specific audience,” Nisha Warrier, a media manager at Unilever. The team got started by developing a nuanced understanding of what kind of content people were actually consuming and were truly interested in. These highly detailed insights could then form the basis for both the creatives and the targeting.

The team wanted to reach a maximum number of users with a message that was straightforward and relevant. They decided to use a full range of targeting including geographic targeting of specific countries, a demographic layer spanning men and women ages 20 to 44, and keyword, topic and interest targeting.

As a vital first step, the team set about to understand what kind of content the demographic of women and men ages 20 to 44 actually consumes. Google’s audience insights team performed an in-depth analysis to reveal what YouTube topics and content categories over-indexed against the target audience – in other words, what content they were really interested in. The analysis wasn’t only at surface level, such as ‘Cooking” for example, but went deeper into specific sub-categories, such as ‘Chinese Recipes’ and ‘Italian Recipes.’

These audience insights were then used to develop 75 seven-second bumper ads, each uniquely tailoring the Jif message to a particular topic. To drive home the idea that Jif can clean any surface area, the creatives showcased the efficacy of Jif on different surfaces and linked it to the content that viewers were actually consuming.

To target the correct ad to the correct content, the team built targeting segments based on keyword analysis. For example, the campaign showed Jif cleaning dirt from cricket pads to appeal to cricket fans, kitchen surfaces to appeal to foodies, and so on. Thanks to this approach, they were able to build mass reach but in a relevant, hyper-targeted way.

To accommodate users’ relatively short attention spans and to tell the brand story before viewers dropped off, the team came up with an innovative approach. They developed a creative way of using the “Skip” button, showcasing the message that Jif can clean stains faster than a viewer can skip the ad. In this way, not only was the advertising relevant, it was also concise.

For the cleaning challenges you can't skip, there's always JIF #Jifarabia

Achieving a top of mind position requires continuous activity, so the team opted to take an always-on approach with no pauses. Measures such as these more than paid off, with the campaign exceeding expectations. Jif has already reached over 60% of the target audience, and the campaign is still live. Meanwhile, a BrandLift Study showed best in class uplifts of 45% in ad recall and 20% in consideration in KSA, with a 42% ad recall uplift in UAE. In terms of direct business impact, Jif managed to accelerate sales growth from 3.6% to 6% year on year after the campaign.

In essence, the Jif campaign leveraged the scale of YouTube in a micro-targeted fashion based on audience data that informed both the creative and media strategies. “It was like a closed loop where interests informed creative development, which then informed targeting,” affirms Warrier. “And because it was the top interests across our demographic, we could ensure we didn’t sacrifice on reach. The full approach was just spot on and worked better than any other campaign we’ve done for the brand.”