Georgia-Pacific has gone all in on content, joining forces with Meredith Corporation to create 1,400 pieces of custom content to promote six of its brands—Angel Soft, Brawny, Dixie, Sparkle, Quilted Northern, and Vanity Fair—across Meredith’s digital properties. It marks not only one of the largest content-based advertising initiatives to date, but also offers a roadmap for any undertaking of this type.
The year-long campaign kicked off in January with a meeting between Georgia Pacific’s CMO, Douwe Bergsma, key members of the company’s creative agency ZenithOptimedia, and content creators from Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, according to Marc Rothschild, SVP at Meredith Digital. He credits Bergsma with not only having being ahead of the curve on content as a marketing tool, but also with fostering a collaborative process that laid a solid foundation for success. “Most organizations would have trouble bringing together the right people around the table to provision something like this,” says Rothschild noting the complexity of such a large-scale undertaking—in terms of content and the number of Georgia-Pacific and Meredith brands involved. “Douwe had the foresight to get the right stakeholders into the room working together from the start—really collaborating. That was a smart move.”
Before they began creating content, which will continue to roll out throughout the year, the team worked together to establish content pillars such as whether or not content should be evergreen or seasonal and to establish success metrics. According to Rothschild each brand has its own challenges and things they are trying to accomplish— awareness, unaided awareness, purchase intent — and they crafted metrics with these specific goals in mind. “The overall view, though, is that content is one of the best methods of engaging consumers and breaking through the clutter to reach them.”
An essential component of this content marketing initiative was creating content with distribution channels in mind. “In today’s landscape, this is a rare thing,” says Rothschild, pointing out that it is still common for television, digital, print, and other advertising to be handled by different parties. “What’s powerful and very important in our partnership with General Pacific is that we’re able to provide an end-to-end solution that starts with content and carries through to distribution and amplification.”
Each piece of content was designed to engage consumers across Meredith’s core verticals: home, food, lifestyle, parenting and family. The custom content developed for Georgia-Pacific was crafted to engage audiences on Georgia-Pacific’s brand sites and social media channels as well as across Meredith Digital’s network of websites, which include Allrecipes, Better Homes and Gardens, Rachael Ray Every Day, Martha Stewart Living, and Parents. Content types include video, articles, listicles, infographics, slideshows and more.
Because brands are already part of the natural conversation for many of Meredith’s publications and digital properties, the inclusion of native content is a natural fit. However, Rothschild emphasizes that, like all Meredith content, they aspire for branded content to be interesting and helpful to readers so that they can “weave in brands in a way that is additive to readers’ experience.” As an example, Meredith is running a series of parenting moments sponsored by the Angel Soft brand, whose tagline is “Be soft. Be strong.” that illustrate those times when a mom needs to be be soft, and others when she’s got to be strong. Interestingly, Rothschild says there were times when editorial fed off of the marketing content, such as the Angel Soft ad that celebrated single moms on Father’s Day.
Ultimately, “the content has to feel right” for both the brand advertised and the digital property where it is distributed and while Rothschild notes that consumer packaged goods are a very clear, endemic fit, he points out that Meredith readers’ interests go well beyond how to safely keep toys clean (with Georgia-Pacific brand Brawny). There are many other opportunities to use branded content to extend meaningful experiences to women “in ways that aren’t commonly thought of as ‘female’ such as financial services,” he said, since clearly women are highly interested and involved in financial planning.
Working on innovative advertising initiatives such as this large-scale content collaboration with Georgia-Pacific “forces you to think about the consumer first with your advertising.” And, as Rothschild says, “with all that’s going on in the industry in terms of consumer sentiment about digital advertising, that just makes sense.”