How Mars Wrigley Confectionery featured emerging Aussies as support acts for global music talent on YouTube

January 2019

After chewing on ways to reconnect with younger Aussies, Mars Wrigley Confectionery saw an opportunity to use YouTube as a hub for fresh, sponsored content. For its EXTRA Support Acts campaign, the brand tapped TrueView ads to spotlight emerging Aussie talent, making them the supporting acts for global artists including 5 Seconds of Summer, Alison Wonderland, The Rubens, and 360.

It’s no secret that tastes change with every new generation. It’s a fact of life that posed a major challenge for Mars Wrigley Confectionery, home of the EXTRA chewing gum family. When its marketing team noticed that Aussies under 35 were chewing less gum but consuming more online video than ever, they realized they had found the sweet spot for staying top of mind with the next generation.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery saw that YouTube offered a grand stage for reaching its audience as well as an opportunity to go beyond product marketing. “Creative that simply informs people isn’t going to get much attention today,” explained Alison Levins, Mars Wrigley Confectionery Pacific’s marketing director. “It’s about strong brands and storytelling. We knew we’d have to work much harder to reach this audience in a meaningful way.”

While younger audiences are savvy about avoiding invasive or irrelevant ads, they’re more than willing to engage with content that complements their viewing experience — whether it’s six seconds or six minutes. That inspired Mars Wrigley Confectionery to take a fresh approach to creating unskippable ads for EXTRA gum, transforming TrueView ads into a can’t-miss musical competition, with the winner earning a performance at the Universal Music showcase at the ARIA Awards in Sydney.

Setting the stage for emerging talent on TrueView

The voting process
The EXTRA Support Acts campaign pitted 16 emerging Aussie musicians against each other in a series of pre-roll ads introduced by established artists, including 5 Seconds of Summer, Alison Wonderland, The Rubens, and 360. By playing the ads before the major artists’ content, the ads essentially became opening act slots that exposed the new talent to a large, highly relevant audience.

The brand’s method for deciding a winner became the campaign tagline: “The more you watch, the more you vote.” Viewers’ votes were registered with their watch time — engagement metrics such as view-through rates, average watch time, organic views, and artist sentiment were used to rank the competition.

The collaboration
The project was the first of its kind in APAC, and it required close collaboration among Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Universal Music Australia, Clemenger BBDO, Mediacom, and YouTube Australia. After Clemenger BBDO developed the concept, the YouTube team pinpointed the most popular genres and artists among Aussies under 35. Then, Universal Music Australia brought in Aussie music royalty from the top genres to create four ads promoting the grassroots talent.

The creative
Equipped with their opening acts, Mediacom and Mars Wrigley Confectionery used TrueView to reach Aussies searching for related music content on YouTube. To make sure viewers didn’t skip the openers, each ad started with the more established artists breaking the fourth wall to introduce their supporting acts and encourage fans to keep watching.

The campaign featured more than 60 pieces of content spanning online and offline — from YouTube Mastheads to out-of-home ads — and all campaign traffic was directed to the EXTRA Support Acts YouTube channel.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery refreshes its reach among younger Aussies

When the campaign concluded, one winner emerged from each genre — Yomi Twice, Chevy Levett, Ivey, and Verge Collection — and Mars Wrigley Confectionery had plenty of reasons to celebrate. In just seven weeks, the brand’s YouTube content earned more than 14 million views in Australia, with view-through rates reaching 51%. That was 20% higher than the industry benchmark for content longer than 30 seconds and 3X higher than the brand’s goal.


After the success of season one, conversations are brewing about possibly scaling the concept to other global markets. “This campaign was a brilliant example of how you can innovate and change the way you partner with platforms like YouTube — building reach and using real music discovery data to bring an idea to life,” concluded Dan Connor, Mediacom Australia’s head of strategy and planning.

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