TR: Do you plan ahead to make videos that go viral?
RM: We use the word “viral” very carefully around here. Consumers decide what’s viral. We brief our agencies for a great piece of content that’s engaging and delivers our brand message. Consumers will decide if they want to forward that along.
TR: Does having viral videos reduce the need for spending to get your ads viewed?
RM: We have a syndication strategy. All of our brands have their own websites. But our real focus is to go where consumers are, to disseminate the ad to where the guys who like Axe are already going. We’re not spending money to drive guys to a certain place, but to connect where they already are.
TR: Is that what you mean by your term “superdistribution”?
RM: Superdistribution is taking a great piece of content and syndicating it. You can see our video on the Yahoo home page and never leave that site.
TR: How do you measure ROI across these new forms of media? How do you measure whether your investment is having a payback?
RM: We’re more rigorous in our analysis. We use the Nielsen Marketing Mix model to be more focused on better capturing the impact of digital. With Mindshare, our media agency, we make sure that every piece of digital creative, including iPhone and Yahoo, is tagged. We go in with a clear understanding of the objective. Does it drive video views? Does it drive coupons, or samples? Do we need to change the creative because it’s not engaging? Or do we need to double down on this creative because it’s crushing? We can optimize in real time as we go.
TR: What’s your view of advertising on mobile platforms like the iPhone and iPad?
RM: We were one of the inaugural sponsors on the iPad, with Time magazine. The difference is that part of the experience is your finger interacting with the screen. We talk about how long consumers are engaging with our brands, and the iPad is a much more engaging device. With the iPhone, our Dove Men Plus Care campaign created a rich experience around baseball stars such as Andy Pettitte and Albert Pujols. We showed their homes, we showed their playlist on iTunes. What’s interesting is that 20 percent of the guys who engage with the iPhone ads are coming back for a second experience.
TR: So consumers are spending more and more time with screens throughout the day. Where is this all going?
RM: We don’t know. We’re trying to create what we call a canvas of content. It’s not just about 30-second spots or home page takeover ads, but about taking your idea and rolling it out to the multiple screens that exist now. There’s never been a more exciting time to be in marketing or media than today. We’re living through a modern-day Mad Men. People call that show the glory days of advertising. I actually think this is the most extraordinary time.