How a Smaller-Spending Brand Can Punch Above Its Weight – Bill Harvey and Barbara Connors

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Much is made of digital's ability to target down to the consumer and measure the sales impact. Some scoff at TV's broad reach and inability to target and measure sales lift. Others whisper than some TV money is coming out of the upfront destined for digital.

Here's a true life story that flies in the face of all that "conventional wisdom." A small brand COMES INTO TV, targets smartly with purchase data rather than age/sex, and then, quantifies sales lift and ROI! Well played. Bravo Constellation and Horizon Media!
--Pierre Bouvard, TiVo Research

There are many brands even within the largest corporations that do not have a TV budget. These brands have burning questions that are knottier than those faced by their larger siblings, because whatever they do, they have less to do it with. This case study is valuable for all advertisers but especially for those brand managers with smaller or no TV budgets. We estimate that about a thousand CPG brands fall into this classification. Every large CPG advertiser has some of them. This is a story about two of those brands, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi and Black Box, both popular wines.

Constellation Brands, the world's leading premium wine company, launched its first very modest national TV campaigns for these brands in the summer of 2012. While pleased with the sales results, Constellation and its agency Horizon believed it must be possible to do even better if there were a way to improve the targeting. Constellation's visionary management and its agency partners looked at the targeting field very closely and decided the most promising approach would be Big Data single source. Using real purchase data directly matched (not indirectly fused), plus a huge sample size, sounded logically as if it had to be the most robust solution.

TiVo Research utilized its Media TRAnalytics® software to conduct an overlap analysis between the age/sex target utilized during the summer 2012 TV campaign and three potential purchaser-based targets (Brand Purchasers, Category Purchasers, and Competitive Brand Purchasers). The analysis showed that the current age/sex buying target only covered about 60% of purchasing households and even less of the volume. The observations made during this phase had another benefit: Given the brands' growth objectives, it was determined that reaching competitive brand purchaserswould be the priority in 2013.

In Phase 2, TiVo Research reviewed the summer 2012 TV brand schedules to identify placements to be avoided in summer 2013. Phase 3 provided Horizon with current Network/Daypart TTIs (True Target Indices, i.e. the indices of purchaser concentration) to identify new opportunities for placements.

Phases 4 and 5 were multivariate analyses performed by dunnhumby. Using the TiVo Research TV viewership data combined with consumer purchase behavior data, dunnhumby was able to determine the sales lift of the Woodbridge and Black Box TV advertising campaigns in the summers of 2012 and 2013.

The summer 2012 analysis would provide a basis of comparison to quantify the impact of utilizing the competitive purchaser target in place of straight demographic based targeting. The summer 2013 campaigns utilized virtually the same budget, the same creative, and the same flight dates as the summer 2012 campaigns. The only difference was the network/daypart allocation.

Business Results - 2.0X ROI improvement and +50% Sales Lift

Results of shifting to purchaser-based targets were impressive.

Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi

9% fewer W25-54 TRPs (Targeted Rating Points against Women 25-54) while increasing the brand W25-54 reach by 21%. The ROI analysis reported double-digit sales lifts across the board. Woodbridge outpaced its competitors by increasing dollars spent per household by 56% while competitors only experienced a 4% sales lift. Increases were also seen in volume per household (+49%) and purchase frequency (+27%). Even more exciting, absolute sales lift increased by 28% vs. the demo-based summer 2012 performance. Household penetration grew 32% during the campaign while competitors only saw 2% growth.

Black Box

Half of the networks used in 2012 were dropped in 2013 and replaced with networks that performed better against the competitive brand purchasers. Dollars per household and purchase frequency lifts in exposed households were 233% higher than their matched control group. Volume per household also saw a 219% sales lift. Household penetration was up 183% while the competition only saw 5% growth.

What this case study shows is that small-budget TV brands can enjoy the sales lift of what would normally require a substantial budget increase, e.g. doubling the media budget — but without spending more than a small research cost, equivalent to less than 5% of the incremental sales produced.

This is surely good news not only for the hundreds of smaller brands in the stables of the corporate giants but also for the small and midsized CPG businesses across America.

Barbara Connors is dunnhumby Director of Media Capabilities.

Thanks also to Sheryl Harkins who leads the TiVo Research CPG practice after a similar role at Nielsen. Sheryl contributed significantly to the success of this project by her leadership and participated in the interpretation of all study findings.

Bill Harvey is a well-known media researcher and inventor who co-founded TRA, Inc. and is its Strategic Advisor. His nonprofit Human Effectiveness Institute runs his weekly blog on consciousness optimization. Bill can be contacted at

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