- Johnson & Johnson has grown its YouTube spend 250% since 2015, Alison Lewis, global CMO of consumer companies, announced at the Google-owned video platform's annual Brandcast presentation, which is part of the IAB's Digital Content NewFronts. On the stage at Radio City Music Hall Thursday evening, where Marketing Dive was in attendance, Lewis detailed how J&J's YouTube strategy has evolved, not just to cover marketing, but also inform product-making decisions.
- The company noticed an uptick in YouTube searches for beauty products using lemon as an ingredient, which led to the creation of Clean & Clear Lemon, for example. Similarly, an offering called C&C by Clean & Clear was developed with the help of Gen Z-focused YouTube creators Brooklyn and Bailey, who have an audience of 5.6 million young subscribers and helped J&J authentically reach that lucrative market, Lewis said.
- Neutrogena, another personal care line, tapped YouTube's Director Mix tool for customizing and sequencing video campaigns at scale in order to promote a makeup remover. The brand created 21 videos with different copy and images and targeted them around time of day, location and weather to ensure relevancy. The campaign led to a 14% boost in sales, with 72% of incremental sales stemming from entirely new Neutrogena customers — results Lewis called an unprecedented return on investment for J&J.
YouTube's typically glitzy Brandcast presentation, which this year featured appearances by celebs like Alicia Keys and two live performances by pop artist Dua Lipa, is a forum for the platform to pitch advertisers and agencies on spending more with its service. Lewis' presentation on Thursday night, at the close of the busy NewFronts week, ticked off a lot of boxes for what's currently in high demand in the industry: better engaging elusive young consumer segments like Gen Z, figuring out how to deliver personalized creative at scale and, most importantly, actually translating those tactics into sales.
The case studies that J&J's CMO shared were another sign of how many marketers remain interested in investing more in YouTube despite the platform's continued problems in solving issues like brand safety. Brand safety was touched on briefly at the presentation, with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki calling "responsibility" a No. 1 priority, but more of the discussions were about the benefits of digital.
"Today, we no longer look at digital as an add-on," J&J's Lewis said to an audience of more than 3,000. "We know it works and we know it delivers a better return on our investment."
The executive compared the digital revolution heralded by the rise of platforms like YouTube to the industrial revolution around which J&J was founded in the late-19th century. She also detailed how YouTube provides more granular targeting than other channels that J&J has traditionally relied on, such as TV, allowing the company to cater better to consumer sets as specific as health-conscious gym-goers or on-the-go travelers.
"YouTube also gives us a direct line to our audience, allowing us to engage with them on their passions," Lewis said. "YouTube helps us to create rich audiences we can't with TV."
Other presenters at the event on Thursday, like the creator Simone Giertz, who has a channel focused on oddball inventions of her own making, also dinged TV as creatively limiting compared to YouTube. Growing swipes at the traditional networks, coming amid the TV industry's own upfronts season, are part of YouTube's new positioning as a more personal version of prime time, where viewers are choosing when to watch their favorite content. At the start of the presentation, Wojcicki boasted that watch time of YouTube on television screens has reached more than 250 million hours per day and she called out the living room as a key venue for consumption.
Having grown its YouTube work meteorically since 2015, J&J has no plans to slow down now. The company earlier this year rolled out an effort promoting a new offering called Listerine Ready! Tabs, with creative intended to help viewers discover and understand how the solid tabs dissolve into liquid mouthwash when chewed. The effort changed dynamically over time as consumers became more aware of the product, achieving significant brand lift and recall, according to Lewis.
"It was our largest digital investment ever and we made that investment because we believe in data-inspired creativity and we believe in the power of YouTube to help us drive results," Lewis said.