vitaminwater hosted uncapped, a series of live music events held across 9 U.S. cities, from which over 50 exclusive videos featuring performance coverage, behind the scenes footage, and artist interviews from uncapped were posted on a custom YouTube brand channel. The program was supported by Google ads, including YouTube's TrueView ads and multiple homepage mastheads, leading to improved brand health metrics and purchase intent. vitaminwater also found that consumers who chose to watch uncapped content on TrueView often consumed more videos and subscribed to the vitaminwater YouTube brand channel.
In 2011, vitaminwater® partnered with The FADER to launch uncapped, a nationwide concert series dedicated to bringing the best artists working in hip-hop, electronic and indie rock and combining them in an unprecedented series of shows. Videos from 2011’s uncapped were hosted on vitaminwater.com, but the team wanted to get even bigger and better in the second year of the program. To do that, vitaminwater® chose to partner with YouTube to bring critical scale to uncapped in 2012.
2012’s uncapped involved a series of live music events hosted across 9 U.S. cities, but this time, over 50 exclusive videos featuring performance coverage, behind the scenes footage, and artist interviews from uncapped were posted on a custom YouTube brand channel. The program was supported by Google ads, including YouTube’s TrueView ads and multiple homepage mastheads.
vitaminwater® had identified music as a common passion point between its brand and its audience, multicultural millennials, and now, they were not only creating authentic engagement with their audience with live events, but also more effectively scaling up with digital. This focus on building engagement at scale clearly paid off for vitaminwater®, as brand health metrics and purchase intent improved because of uncapped.
Built for engagement: Offline to online
uncapped was about finding the intersection of consumers’ passions, and figuring out how the brand could support those passions and deliver utility to customers. Brand love, engagement, and scale were critical goals.
To build engagement, the team first focused on creating unique offline experiences. As Ben Garnero, Brand Manager at vitaminwater®, noted, "We put a lot of value on these live experiences — they provide the brand with a critical opportunity to physically connect with consumers."
By focusing on their most engaging platform — in this case the live events — vitaminwater® was then better able to fuel online buzz and awareness. The sentiments generated in-venue, coupled with the digital tools given to audiences to talk about uncapped, amplified the campaign’s online impact. "We wouldn’t have seen the same amount of online buzz otherwise," Anthony Martinez, Senior Integrated Communications Manager at The Coca-Cola Company noted.
YouTube is a dynamic platform... It’s really hard to put YouTube into any one bucket. I can’t think of any other property that’s like that today
Scaling with YouTube
These offline events alone, however, were insufficient to achieve engagement at a larger scale. The team wanted to bring the connection felt in the arena into the digital space as well.
"We used digital to scale the live event experience, with YouTube as the centerpiece of the online experience," Anthony described. Ben explained that with millennials, YouTube is the biggest player in the digital music environment, and vitaminwater® wanted to go where consumers were already gathering.
YouTube and Google ad solutions were key to achieving significant scale. As Anthony asserted, "We wouldn’t have seen the same results by only organically posting content to our YouTube channel."
- YouTube’s TrueView ads efficiently targeted audiences looking for artist-specific content. Users who chose to watch the ads often consumed more videos and subscribed to the vitaminwater® channel.
- YouTube homepage mastheads and mobile roadblock helped launch pieces of content to drive significant awareness and traffic spikes on key campaign dates.
- Remarketing reengaged past audiences by serving them new content, leading to higher video viewing and engagement rates amongst these users.
- The team created a mobile-optimized destination and utilized mobile media to ensure the best user experience across devices.
- Paid search and Google Display Network campaigns further directed traffic to the YouTube channel.
While YouTube served as a final destination for uncapped, however, it was also an important vehicle for distribution, as the team pushed uncapped content out across different sites using YouTube’s embeddable player. "There are not many (platforms) that provide that flexibility," Anthony pointed out.
Storytelling through digital and YouTube
vitaminwater® saw brand health metrics improve despite the subtle branding within uncapped. Ben believes this reinforces the importance of dynamic storytelling. As he noted, brands need to figure out a way to have a conversation, and not get too consumed in pushing the brand message.
Consequently, Anthony emphasized that for vitaminwater®, "Digital is no longer an afterthought. We’re putting it at the center of how we connect with consumers, both in experiences we create in the offline world, and in how we bring those experiences to the digital space."
YouTube, in particular, is helping to facilitate this conversation between vitaminwater® and its audience.
"YouTube is a dynamic platform," Anthony explained. "It has all these different roles: it could be a hub because of your brand channel; a social platform because it’s got a community of subscribers and a broader community as well; a media property as YouTube moves into premium content space; and a place where you can distribute your own content, as we were doing. It’s really hard to put YouTube into any one bucket. I can’t think of any other property that’s like that today."