ANA Annual Meeting 2015

How Unilever Tapped 'I Want That Hair' Moments By Aggregating Blogger Videos

All Things Hair Channel on YouTube Has Generated More than 50 Million Views

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Hair care how-to videos are big on YouTube, but Unilever realized 97% of them were created by bloggers rather than brands. By aggregating such videos and building a search function around them through its All Things Hair channel on YouTube, Unilever since 2013 has helped make itself more central to the conversation, generating more than 50 million views to date.

That change came about in part from Unilever working with its Google account team to find trending searches for hair-care, said Matt Lawson, director of performance marketing at Google in a presentation at the Association of National Advertisers Masters of Marketing conference in Orlando on Thursday.

Working with Razorfish, Unilever partnered with video bloggers to create the channel. "Within six weeks, it became the No. 1 hair-care channel on YouTube," Mr. Lawson said. And all the views generated mean "50 million times someone has reached out for information on how to straighten curly hair or curly straight hair, and Unilever was there, possibly with a product placement."

Unilever, marketer of Dove, Tresemme, Nexxus and Clear, was tapping that "I want that hair moment," Mr. Lawson said, describing that as a the time "when women see a hair style they like on a friend and celebrity and want to replicate it for themselves."

Matt Lawson at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference
Matt Lawson at the ANA Masters of Marketing Conference Credit: ANA

His presentation focused on "micro moments," those 150 million times a day people check their phones, spanning a mere 170 million minutes of viewing time. He also highlighted Red Roof Inn, which caters to last-minute travel bookers. The chain identified the 400,000 people a year stranded overnight in airports by weather-related flight delays as a big potential market, then started tracking flight delays in real time and integrating that into their search campaigns.

"As a result they were able to bid up to the top position when people were in cities with a flight cancellation and there was a Red Roof Inn nearby," Mr. Lawson said. "This resulted in them achieving a 90% share of voice in searches related to last-minute travel." Red Roof Inn tailored search copy to show exactly how far a motel was from the people searching, then let them call with a click, helping them drive a 60% increase in bookings in the target audience.