Orabrush Spins Off In-House Agency/Marketing-Tech Firm

CEO Jeff Davis Will Head Molio; Clients Have Included Iams, Poo-Pourri

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The company behind viral-video hits that launched eponymous tongue cleaner Orabrush is spinning off its in-house agency into a marketing-tech startup called Molio. The spinoff is backed by $3 million in venture funding led by Greycroft Partners.

The new company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is led by Jeff Davis, the Procter & Gamble Co. sales alum who launched Orabrush and will continue as that company's CEO. While Molio will do programmatic buying and digital media optimization like many media agencies and marketing-tech players, content creation and optimization will be just as important, Mr. Davis said.

Orabrush has been associated with viral hits, he said, "But there's nothing viral about what we do. "Virality is a one off. It's not repeatable, sustainable or predictable."

Paid media has been key to the success of Orabrush and what Mr. Davis calls its "reverse marketing" strategy. By that, he means starting with digital and e-commerce and using what's learned there to move into bricks-and-mortar retail and even traditional media such as TV.

Orabrush has had more than 44 million views for videos in its own YouTube channel, but Mr. Davis said much of that success owes to the analytics behind the software it developed to optimize creative and media buys. Besides its own products – Orabrush and Orapup for dogs – Orabrush has worked with outside clients, including Poo-Pourri, Wilson Golf, mileage-tracking app MileIQ, and Iams Shakeables dog treats, now owned by Mars.

"The most important part is combining and bridging content with the hyper-targeted ad serving," Mr. Davis said. "We tweak content, make adjustments to that content, and determine how that content will be served."

In some cases, he said, Orabrush has and Molio will make ads with as many as 100 creative variations, including different lengths, offers, calls to action, and even actors in the case of a recent video for hair flattening-iron brand GHD. Molio then optimizes the creative over time based on response to the ads.

For Poo-Pourri late last year, Mr. Davis said Molio handled geo-targeted YouTube advertising around the product's move into Bed Bath and Beyond stores that produced sales lifts of more than 50% over control stores where the YouTube ads didn't run.

Not joining Molio, however, is Joel Ackerman, former creative director of Orabrush and writer/director of some of the company's most-viewed videos as well as Poo-Pourri's viral hit, with more than 31 million YouTube views of its own. Mr. Ackerman is principal of Los Angeles-based production house Ackermania Creative.

"The secret sauce behind Orabrush, Orapup and Poo-Pourri, those three multi-million [dollar] online businesses, was Molio, and we've perfected that process and the software behind it," Mr. Davis said.

One believer is Chuck Dietrich, CEO of MileIQ, which turned to Orabrush/Molio to create, optimize and place videos over the past six months. The digital-video program from Molio has helped make MileIQ the top-grossing financial app in Apple's store over the past year, he said.

"Though they're definitely a software company, they bring together a lot of the services to make it successful," Mr. Dietrich said, including the creative and media buying. "We're really happy with the results."