Ziploc Finds Beauty in Beastly Content Effort Via Pinterest, Online Video

SCJohnson Brand Gets Lift From 'Little Beasts' Series

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How often do you think about your storage bags? Not so much, which is why the category might not seem at first blush ideal for content marketing. But that hasn't slowed SC Johnson's Ziploc. High re-pin rates for its content on Pinterest have made it a poster child for the platform, and its "Little Beasts" series of webisodes regularly draws strong seven-figure viewership on YouTube.

SCJ feels good enough about the consumer response, sales, share and other metrics since it launched the efforts, handled largely by Omnicom Group's Energy BBDO, that "roughly speaking, probably half of what we look to spend is in that area," said Drew Franklin, VP-global household storage. That's not insubstantial, given that estimates the brand spent $33 million on TV in the past year.

SCJ defines content marketing as messaging "in a meaningful way in what we call the stream of life," Mr. Franklin said. But it hasn't been entirely smooth sailing.

Ziploc was an early partner on Promoted Pins in May 2014, but because its website wasn't optimized for mobile, people clicking through from their smartphones at first ended up on the brand's home page rather than the targeted recipe or other content. Today Pinterest notes that Ziploc's website has been fully redesigned, and Ziploc sees its Promoted Pins repinned at 2.3 times the Pinterest average, with an engagement rate 40% ahead of the social network's norms.

Ideas for home organization, crafts and recipes work well on Pinterest, Mr. Franklin said, "and we thought this could be very relevant for our brand and our consumers. And we see from the repin rates which ones are resonating."

But Mr. Franklin said Ziploc is equally happy with results on Facebook and YouTube, particularly the "Little Beasts" webisode series launched in November, including a wave that went live last month for back-to-school season. The series includes five videos, which individually have garnered between 2 million and 5.5 million views on YouTube alone, along with overwhelmingly positive comments.

"When the brand team came to me and said, 'We want to do some scenarios with consumers replicating their lives, but we want to do it with some exotic animals and put it on YouTube,' as a traditional marketer, you hear that idea and say, 'OK, let's see what they're thinking,'" Mr. Franklin said. "But it has been a wonderful surprise."

The vignettes, which have Ziploc branding at the front and back but no overt product placement, feature parents and educators, with the kids played by animals that have included a sloth, monkeys, a pig and an alpaca.

"It's done in a very tasteful way where we're not pushing the product or what the product does for them in that situation," Mr. Franklin said. "It's really saying, 'We understand what your life is like.'"

Maybe household storage isn't sexy, but animal videos do nicely in social media (National Geographic regularly leads Shareablee's rankings of the most-engaged-with brand content). And recipes don't work only for food companies.

SCJ is still working on getting better metrics to directly link sales to content efforts, Mr. Franklin acknowledged. "But when we look at what we've done in the past 18 to 24 months, we're seeing positive shifts in the attitude toward Ziploc" and "household penetration is improving."

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