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Food lovers flock to YouTube to discover new recipes, learn the ins and outs of food science, and watch tutorials from amateurs and experts. To reach these YouTube foodies around the world, Unilever’s global food brand Knorr shared a message of food, flavor, and love, amassing 54M views in 14 days.


54M views in two weeks

#1 ad on May 2016 Global Ads Leaderboard

6000% lift in search interest in select markets

The Challenge

These days, few things excite as much passion as food. We take pictures of it. We search for the perfect ingredients to make it. We build our culture around it. The food industry is booming and Knorr, a global brand sold in 87 countries and part of parent company Unilever, recognized that a lot of the industry's growth was coming from small brands targeted to millennials.

Knorr needed a way to increase relevance with millennials who are passionate about food and flavors and make a splash with global audiences who may not be aware of the brand.

The Approach

At its core, Knorr is about flavor. So when 78% of research respondents said they'd be more attracted to their partner if they both enjoyed the same flavors, a charming idea was born. The team at Knorr set up couples who had never met and whose only connection was their answers to Knorr's Flavor Profiler—and they let the cameras roll. The result was this emotionally compelling, long-form YouTube video called "Love at First Taste."

TrueView connects Knorr with fellow food and flavor lovers 

Knorr knew that YouTube would be the right fit to tell its story and connect with millennial foodies where they spend their time. "Millennials are even more passionate about food and cooking than the generation before them—and YouTube is a fantastic channel for us to reach that audience," said Ukonwa Ojo, senior global brand director at Knorr.

The team wanted to do more than just place an ad in front of people; they wanted to be a part of food culture. "We wanted to penetrate millennial food culture and be on the platform that actually inspired some of the meals that are in the Flavor Profiler," said Matt Prentis, global innovation director at PHD Media Worldwide, Knorr's media agency.

To engage with people who care about the same things it does, Knorr used TrueView ads so only people who chose to watch the video would see it. The TrueView format meant Knorr’s “media dollars could buy a higher quality viewer," said Prentis.

Knorr launched YouTube campaign in 10 countries and 25 languages simultaneously

To spread the flavors far and wide, Knorr relied on YouTube's massive scale and its ability to facilitate a launch across 10 different countries and 25 different languages (via closed captioning) simultaneously. "To be able to have one central film, distribute it at scale, and have people watch that same film in subtitles in 25 different languages is quite unique for us and for any global brand," said Ojo.

"Millennials are even more passionate about food and cooking than the generation before them—and YouTube is a fantastic channel for us to reach that audience."

A global command center made up of reps from Unilever, its agencies, and YouTube monitored Knorr's KPIs every day and made optimizations on the fly. The team measured and tracked things like view-through rate, cost-per-click, and audience sentiment for each of the different countries. "We could measure lots of variables that allowed us to see how we were doing in real time. YouTube gave us both the flexibility and scale to do that," said Ben Johnson, Unilever's global media director.

Having all of this information available at their fingertips allowed the team to reallocate budgets to markets where the campaign was performing better. These efforts allowed for significant cost efficiencies, resulting in 54M views in two weeks, nearly 2M Flavor Profiler completions (driven from all media platforms), and yes, one actual, real-life couple.

"YouTube is an exceptionally cost-effective driver of reach and scale across loads of markets; in a complex, connected world, it's one of our core partners," Johnson concluded.



The Results
Global Audiences Taste Knorr Flavorful Youtube Ad Results Nug