Emergen-C sought to aid the response to COVID-19 and promote brand awareness with efforts that included a donation to Americares and the creation of a film that acted as a love letter to the normalcy people craved and the future they looked forward to welcoming.
Objective and Context:
The COVID-19 pandemic made staying healthy more of a concern than ever. People looked for ways to boost their immunity and prevent illness. Hospitals around the world were faced with mask shortages. Essential workers were isolated from their family within their own homes, some even sleeping in their garages for weeks to avoid getting their families sick. Emergen-C saw an opportunity to compassionately connect with its health-seeking userbase by joining a culturally relevant conversation and helping to support those affected by the pandemic.
The Emergen-C campaign sought to:
Emergen-C had previously communicated the message "Emerge Your Best," speaking to its target audience's desire to improve their health and make the most of their daily lives. The brand has always been deeply concerned with promoting individual health and wellness. As thousands of lives were lost and fear and confusion seeped into conversations around health and wellness, the brand needed to offer more than an inspirational individualistic message. Consequently, Emergen-C shifted its focus to a message that highlighted mutual experience: "Emerge Our Best." The brand built a holistic campaign to champion the message of hope and capture the cultural shift to collective responsibility by helping its audience to help others.
The target audience was consumers with healthy lifestyles who were concerned with supporting their immune system and were interested in taking action to do so. Members of this audience were also notable for missing their "normal" activities. Through social listening, Emergen-C saw its audience talking about life after the virus. The phrase "when this is over" was posted 650,000 times worldwide in March and was up to 1.5 million by mid-April in the U.S. alone. The conversation was flooded with mentions of hugging friends, gathering for meals, and hope.
Through consumer research and social listening, Emergen-C learned that people were facing uncertainty around how to protect themselves from COVID-19; however, these people started with what they knew. They saw engaging with the immune support category as taking the next step in their overall health and wellness. COVID-19 has made them more intentional about supporting their immune system.
As a brand that sees the potential in each of us, Emergen-C understood the importance of looking to the future during this crisis. While the horrible losses experienced by those affected by COVID-19 brought out the worst in some, they have also brought communities together and inspired a sense of collective responsibility. Friends and strangers were supporting each other through unemployment, illness, and isolation. Emergen-C had an opportunity to help facilitate these positive actions through charitable donations and gift cards sent between friends. In a move to support the community and show the brand's solidarity, Emergen-C shifted communications from "Emerge Your Best" to "Emerge Our Best."
Overall Campaign Execution:
Emergen-C kicked off the campaign with a $500,000 donation to Americares, a health-focused relief organization that helps people affected by poverty, disease, or disaster with medical supplies and health programs. This donation would help Americares provide much needed protective supplies such as masks, gowns, gloves, and disinfectants. It would also help the organization provide skill-building workshops and support groups for health care workers.
This donation was not, however, the beginning and the end of Emergen-C's work. With the shift to Emerge Our Best, the brand saw a chance to deliver a love letter to the normalcy people craved, and the future they looked forward to welcoming. The "Emerge Our Best" film aimed to raise brand awareness with an encouraging and supportive message giving communities something to look forward to. The emotional and hopeful video was inspired by small moments and simple actions that would hopefully return soon — experiences such as holding hands, enjoying meals with friends, and even waiting in line.
The film lives on the associated microsite and was promoted on social media. Conversation continued online with #EmergeOurBest, spreading hope and positivity between Emergen-C and its community.
Emergen-C's digital campaign directed consumers to the "Emerge Our Best" microsite, which housed information about the charitable donation and offered an option to sign up for gift cards to help recipients and their friends emerge their best. Visitors could sign up by email to join the community, redeem rewards, and refer friends. Those who signed up and the friends they referred could earn up to $175 in gift cards to use however they liked: on supplies, groceries, entertainment, or to support a local business.
To maximize engagement and reach as many of the brand's target consumers as possible, the campaign was designed and promoted with mobile and digital experiences in mind. The campaign largely relied on mobile for promotion. 99.25 percent of the social budget was spent on mobile in app/mobile devices. For online video, 92 percent was spent on mobile, which saw 93 percent of all impressions.
Emergen-C's campaign allowed its target to maintain connections with Emergen-C as well as with friends. The microsite generated 78,000 email sign-ups, and positive brand sentiment rose from 66 percent to 96 percent after the first week of the campaign.
The view rate on social media for the campaign was 5.21 percent above the 3.8 percent benchmark and coincided with a 48.86 percent increase from the 2019 benchmark. OTT drove a strong video-completion rate of 99 percent across all partners. Facebook promotion gained efficiency with CPMs dropping 16 percent from the initial launch week and view rates performing above the goal.