Why Direct to Consumer Brands Need TV Ads

Direct to consumer brands are winning market share from brick and mortar retailers – but they need the power of legacy TV to take the next step.

Direct to consumer (DTC or D2C) companies have taken full advantage of paid social and paid search to bootstrap growth. The dominant digital ad trio of Instagram, Facebook and Google has allowed DTC brands to reach vast audiences on a fairly limited budget.

Yet if DTC brands want to maintain or even exceed their early growth trajectory, they need to look beyond direct to consumer marketing to a legacy channel: Television.

Why DTC + TV is the growth equation for brands

According to data from the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), TV spending among DTC brands is rising. The Bureau tracked Nielsen research data from 125 DTC brands and found that they spent $3.8 billion, collectively, on TV ads in 2018.

The more interesting statistic, however, is this: 70% of these DTC brands were spending ad money on TV ads for the first time in 2018. Top spenders in the DTC TV ad category include prominent names such as Chewy, Smile Direct Club, Purple and Peloton, all of whom spent more than $100 million in 2018 alone.

Purple, a mattress company, was particularly notable, spending $140 million after spending almost nothing on TV ads in 2017.

In many cases, this was money well spent. Peloton, for example, doubled its sales to $700 million in 2018 after increasing its TV ad spend by 48%.

Overall, DTC brands increased their total spending on TV ads by 60% in 2018. Total ad investment by all brands in the category reached $3.8 billion last year.

What’s behind the increased spending?

There’s a reason why DTC brands are pumping money into TV in unprecedented numbers: They need to scale, and quickly. DTC companies have, in most cases, validated themselves and their model within the market; now they face heightened competition from other DTC brands and traditional retailers who are rolling out their own DTC strategies.

This trend is supported by changing consumer behavior. According to a study from YouGov, 64% of Internet users say that 20% (or more) of their total purchases will occur through DTC brands. Businesses are staking out territory now to capture this revenue.

TV is playing a critical role in this process, as DTC brands seek to leverage its vast reach to drive viewers into the online marketing funnel, as shown by VAB data:

  • Turo, a car sharing startup, increased online video views by 5,100% after increasing its TV ad spend.
  • GrubHub increased its online video views by 1,100% after tripling its TV ad spend.
  • Poshmark saw online search queries increase by 6,900% after increasing its ad spend by 8,400%.
  • Barkbox witnessed a search query gain of 824% after increasing its ad spend by 726%.

Current data also shows that viewers are receptive to this strategy. Research done by Telaria showed that DTC shoppers who are shown both linear and connected TV ads are twice as likely to buy. 

Overall, DTC brands are using TV to exponentially increase exposure and awareness, which results in massive increases in search interest, online engagement and, ultimately, sales.

Another factor influencing DTC growth is cost. While digital advertising is still much less expensive than TV, the cost of advertising on Facebook and other platforms is rising. 

The takeaway

DTC brands have used a digital-first approach to grow and win market share while operating on relatively small budgets. 

That strategy, however, is becoming less relevant as DTC brands mature. In order to reach the vast new pool of consumers outside their digital sphere, it becomes necessary for DTC brands to enter the TV market, where potential buyers can be engaged and guided to online channels. 

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at helping DTC companies reach their full potential through savvy media buying and strategy. We can help you scale and reach new audiences with creatively inspiring new campaigns, smart media buying strategies, and advanced audience analysis and market intelligence.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to learn what a truly great marketing campaign can do for your brand.

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Why Direct to Consumer Pharma Ads Remain a Global Anomaly

Direct to consumer prescription drug ads are everywhere in the US — and almost unseen everywhere else. Here’s why.

In the U.S., consumers are bombarded with ads for pharmaceuticals — so much so, in fact, that the very form has become a cliché (think about “active seniors” pursuing their favorite activities while a narrator rattles off a list of side effects). If you work for a pharmaceutical advertising agency that isn’t based stateside, it’s an entirely different world, however. 

The U.S. is the only large market where direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising is permissible. Only one other country (the ‘tiny by comparison’ New Zealand) allows the practice — and that nation has seen repeated efforts to ban consumer prescription drug ads.

Let’s take a closer look at why direct to consumer drug marketing works, and any changes that could lie ahead.

The Power of Direct Advertising

While direct advertisements for pharmaceuticals are now inescapable, the truth is that they’ve only been around for 22 years. The practice of marketing medications to consumers was made legal under the Clinton Administration in 1997, immediately unleashing a torrent of new advertising on the public in a previously unseen category.

The rationale behind this move was simple: When people suffering from a certain affliction would see an ad for a product that treats their symptoms, they would ask their physician about the product, opening up an important dialogue about their health in the process.

However, the reality hasn’t always proved so simple. When direct advertising certainly works in terms of generating brand awareness and sales, some physicians have raised objections about the role it plays in patient health.

In a Food and Drug Administration survey, 65% of physicians reported feeling that direct advertising sent confusing messages to patients; a smaller number of physicians reported feeling pressure to prescribe as a result of direct ads.

This has occurred against a backdrop of massive expansion in direct pharma advertising dollars. According to a Journal of the American Medical Association study, total direct pharma ad spending grew more than 360% from 1997 to 2016.

The reason for that ad spend is simple: It results in sales, and lots of them. Another federal study showed that for every $1,000 pharma companies spend on direct advertising, they add 24 new patients. Pharmaceuticals supported by direct consumer ads add patients at a rate seven times higher than drugs without ads.

Alternative Approaches to Direct Ads

One alternative to direct pharma advertising that has gained traction in recent years is the Disease Awareness Campaign (DAC). This model eschews product-specific direct ads in favor of a less commercial advertising approach that aims to heighten awareness.

Gilead, one of the world’s leading drug developers, has used the DAC approach in support of its new hepatitis C treatment. The ads encourage people to seek testing for the disease without getting into the merits of Gilead’s product. 

Ultimately, it is unlikely that we see a move to significantly restrict direct pharmaceutical advertising in the US. In fact, it seems likely that other nations may follow the lead of the U.S. and New Zealand and loosen regulations. The European Commission, in fact, has undertaken hearings to explore that possibility, though any approved ads would likely be much less promotional in nature than what is seen in the U.S.

If you’re running a pharma brand or a pharmaceutical advertising agency, perhaps the best approach is one of moderation. Take advantage of the reach and efficacy of direct advertising, but make sure it’s done in a way that stresses awareness and maintains a sense of professional ethics. 

Ultimately, drug companies, physicians, and patients all need to pull in the same direction to create better health outcomes.

The Takeaway

At BIGEYE, we believe that a great pharmaceutical advertising agency offers its clients three things: Domain expertise, advanced technological tools, and a sophisticated understanding of the existing marketing landscape.

Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about what BIGEYE can do for you.

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Use These Tactics to Advertise Like Chewy.com

DTC brands are known for their clever, original, and on-trend ads. Read what we can learn from the pet product marketing tactics Chewy.com uses to connect with audiences.

In a few short years, DTC (or D2C) brands have gone from a novelty to an essential part of the lives of most consumers. They’ve also inspired corporate heavyweights to follow their lead. Nike plans to reach $20 billion in direct to consumer sales by 2020 — a 300% increase from five years earlier.

Many of the newer DTC brands who have become household names have used highly memorable and creative direct to consumer marketing approaches to gain traction. One such example is Chewy.com, a DTC pet brand. Let’s take a closer look at how Chewy.com advertises, and what we can learn from their pet product marketing approach.

Using a savvy DTC ad strategy to build market share

This Chewy.com ad cleverly targets the new parent demographic. One of the primary benefits of Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing model is convenience — it delivers toys, chews, food, and treats directly to a consumer’s home, in a box.

For new parents, saving a trip to the local brick and mortar pet store is a significant draw. Chewy’s ad shows how its service can ease the burden of new parenthood, often one of life’s most overwhelming experiences.

Chewy’s ad is smart for another reason: It targets a large and growing demographic. Pets are often regarded as “training babies” by millennials, who are delaying the rituals and milestones of adulthood longer than earlier generations. Because younger people humanize their pets and treat them as family members, they are more willing to pay for premium products and services. Focusing on the “new parents with a dog” market is a smart move for Chewy.com, given their passion and willingness to spend.

Chewy’s ads also make an economic case familiar to DTC or D2C brands. This ad stresses that all the products offered by Chewy are not only cheaper than those found in a brick and mortar retailer, they also come with free shipping.

It’s a powerful ad because today’s “pet parents” want to do more for their animals, but they may be constrained by lack of income (a particular problem for younger pet parents). Chewy’s ad maintains that it’s possible to buy the best for your animal by opting for their low overhead DTC model.

Chewy.com also released ads focusing on the ease of the delivery and exciting experience of “unboxing” a collection of dog food, treats and toys; an ad showing how Chewy.com customer service reps can assist with helping find food for dogs and cats who are “picky eaters”; and ads that feature specific owners and their dogs, all enjoying Chewy.com boxes.  

All of the ads are upbeat, brief and colorful and feature lots of testimonials and images of happy pets. Additionally, all of the company’s pet product marketing messages highlight at least one aspect of Chewy.com DTC value proposition: Cheaper products, easy delivery, the boxing experience, etc.

Experience-based advertising and marketing, Chewy-style

Chewy.com has also “clawed its way into the public consciousness” by creating memorable experiences for its customers (and their pets) to share.

Chewy operates on the premise that consumers only share two types of experiences online: Great ones and terrible ones. So Chewy, obviously, strives to generate the former.

The company has drawn notice for sending flowers and condolences to a customer who called to cancel an order after a pet’s unexpected death. The customer was stunned and appreciative and later shared the story on social media.

Chewy is also known for sending handwritten notes addressed directly to its customers’ pets — a whimsical touch that plays extremely well in an era when most of us humanize our animals.

The takeaway

DTC brands seeking to build awareness, attract new audiences, and engage with their existing customers would do well to consider Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing, DTC advertising, and customer service model.

Chewy’s ads are not high concept; instead, they hammer home the core value proposition of the company’s DTC model and show plenty of happy and excited pets.

At BIGEYE, we have the experience and expertise to create top drawer DTC ad campaigns such as those created by Chewy.com. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you reach your goals.

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How Direct to Consumer Brands Can Market Creatively

Direct to consumer (DTC or D2C) brands are capturing the public’s imagination — and also their dollars. Here’s how your brand can market creatively.

The ripple effects of the Internet and social media are responsible for countless changes to the way we work and live. Yet the impact these technologies have had on business is no less profound. Today, direct to consumer brands can reach new audiences at a fraction of the cost associated with legacy marketing approaches.

In order to do so, however, they need one thing: Creatively inspired marketing and advertising, supported by sophisticated technology and consumer insights.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at three creative marketing tips for direct to consumer brands.

Unlock the full potential of influencer marketing

Direct to consumer brands have bootstrapped their way to growth by leveraging search tools and social media. Instead of expensive (and poorly targeted) TV campaigns, brands cultivated their audience through digital advertising and social outreach.

The results have been impressive, as direct to consumer brands continue to take a larger and larger slice of the overall consumer pie.

This marketing approach, when done well, comes across as more organic and less mediated. It allows brands to build a grassroots online audience of loyal fans and brand ambassadors. 

Influencer marketing can play a critical role in this strategy. Influencers are perceived as more authentic than legacy ads and they often already hold sway over a large segment of a brand’s target audience.

The influencer economy also developed organically — it wasn’t dreamed up as some mad experiment in a Madison Avenue ad shop. Given these attributes, it makes for a natural pairing with direct to consumer brands.

Growth in the influencer economy continues to be robust — 320 new influencer platforms and influencer-based agencies were launched in 2018. Dealing with influencers one-to-one can be tricky (many aren’t fully professionalized), so it makes sense to use an agency with expertise as a conduit.

Focus on simplicity

Consumers — and people, generally — dislike complexity. Sometimes the best marketing and advertising messages are most simple and straightforward.

This is particularly applicable to direct to consumer brands. Many companies in this category have made a name for themselves (and earned substantial marketing share) by offering a simpler, better take on an existing product.

Consider the example of Harry’s. This direct to consumer razor company began with a simple idea: cheap razors are terrible to use, but high quality razors are absurdly expensive. Harry’s entered the market with an excellent razor sold at a mid-range price and began stealing market share from Gillette.

Direct to consumer pants seller Bonobos succeeded with an equally simple premise. They realized that men hate shopping for pants, and that most mass market pants fit poorly.

Bonobos offered well-fitting pants that found a middle ground between style and comfort — and they sent them directly to consumer doors. The idea was so simple — and successful — that the company was eventually bought by Wal-Mart.

This commitment to simplicity isn’t constrained to product designs or marketing opportunity. Direct to consumer brands such as Harry’s, Chewy.com, Bonobos etc. have historically kept their marketing messages simple. They offer a laser focus on the product’s core value proposition, and relay it to consumers in elegantly simple terms.

Take advantage of the most powerful tools and platforms

TV advertising may offer reach, but digital advertising allows you to target with precision. Direct to consumer brands should take full advantage of programmatic buying when pushing a campaign. 

One of the advantages a direct to consumer brand often has over brick and mortar retailers is the closeness of their relationship with customers. Because DTC brands deal with consumers directly, with no middleman involved, they have an opportunity to create meaningful personalized experiences.

They also have the opportunity to collect an enormous amount of actionable data, which can help them show more relevant ads to their audiences.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we’ve got the experience and domain expertise to help you craft direct to consumer marketing campaigns that get results. Don’t wait to contact us today for more information on how we can help your DTC brand stand out.

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Precision and Reach: Why Streaming TV is a Powerful Weapon for DTC Brands

TV streaming is more intricate than you or your watching habits probably realize, which is why you need a video production services company.

When it comes to advertising and marketing, Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands are best known for sponsored social media posts and banner ads. This makes perfect sense, given their low overhead and brand-focused business model. Yet many of these brands are migrating to a new channel — streaming TV — and partnering with top video production services to create compelling content designed to connect with a younger, mobile-first audience.

Why DTC brands are choosing connected TV as a channel

New research from Hulu and Telaria (a video adtech firm) underlines the potential impact streaming TV can have for DTC brands. Roughly 70% of DTC consumers indicated they spend more time watching streaming TV each week than they spend on social media. These consumers reported spending approximately 13 hours watching streaming TV each week — a figure 20% higher than their reported consumption of traditional broadcasting.

As a recent piece in Adweek maintains, this shift in media watching patterns is now being reflected in the retail sector. Brands are cognizant of this reordering of viewing habits and seeking to benefit from it. A recent report from the Video Advertising Bureau showed that the top DTC brands spent roughly $2 billion on streaming ads in 2018, a figure that likely represents just the tip of the iceberg in terms of ad spend in coming years. In just the last two years, DTC brands doubled their total streaming ad spend.

Why DTC brands are choosing streaming TV

Traditional broadcast TV isn’t an ideal fit for many DTC brands for two reasons: It’s expensive, and it targets a general audience. Streaming services, however, offer DTC brands the ability to target audiences with much greater precision. As Adweek notes, this gives DTC brands the benefits of TV (spectacle, sight, sound, motion through excellent video production services) and marries it with the precision of digital advertising.

How much of an impact does this added precision have? According to the Hulu/Telaria study, shoppers are twice as likely to purchase a product after seeing it in a streaming ad as opposed to a traditional ad. Study respondents also indicated they found streaming TV ads to be more relevant than traditional TV ads — hardly a surprise given the scattershot nature of conventional television advertising.

By focusing on streaming ads, DTC brands also gain much more insight into the purchase cycle. Gaining insight into ad placement and audience targeting allows these brands to better define conversion rates and customer acquisition costs.

Ultimately, streaming TV ads formerly came with a major trade-off for brands — audiences were much, much smaller than those watching traditional, linear TV. However, that state of affairs is rapidly changing. As streaming audiences grow, the value of advertising through this channel grows in parallel.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we understand the value of a highly targeted, creatively inspired, and well-executed streaming ad campaign for DTC businesses. Please reach out to us today to learn more about how our video production services can enhance your DTC successes.

The science of restaurant menu design and what you need to know

It’s no secret that restaurant branding – specifically in terms of restaurant menu design –  is truly an art form. Be it unique, exquisite, quirky, or reminiscent of the latest fad in bringing the scrumptiously delicious to life, there’s much to be appreciated about menus that possess that special quality. Think of it as a certain creative ingredient (or perhaps an entire recipe) that only serves to elevate a pleasurable dining experience – even if from the very first brand interaction.
Below, we bring you 5 outstanding restaurant menus, and why we believe they’re prime examples of complete culinary design genius at work:

Brass union

I love everything about this concept! I’m such a mark for industrial-style design and you can’t get much more industrial than menus made to look like invoices straight out of a 70’s-era brake pad factory. The layout is straightforward and easy to navigate, and the descriptions of the items aren’t too long and complex. Overall, this menu doesn’t look very daunting when it’s first presented to you. For authenticity’s sake, I hope these menus are printed on a dot-matrix printer.

Brass UnionBrass Union

 

Some burros

Who doesn’t enjoy bright and friendly colors paired with bold, hand drawn lines? This menu design makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I like that the only actual menu descriptions are specific to this brand’s speciality items. It definitely helps to keeps the clutter to a minimum – and let’s be honest…it’s Mexican food. If you don’t know what a taco is, then I pity you.

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Black tap


It’s so easy to get minimalist design wrong, but this team got it oh so right. The flow of this design is great because what this restaurant does best is placed front and center. I’ve been to so many restaurants that bury their signature items deep in the menu, and I’ve never understood why they do so. If you are known for a signature dish (or even have it in your name), then it makes perfect sense to ensure that it’s a cinch to locate on the menu.

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Made

The ingenuity of this menu is to be applauded. The design team kept the actual look of the menu simple so that the experience of going through the menu is what stands out to the restaurant patron. It’s so intelligently thought out –  brunch, side items, and drinks take up the least amount of room so they are up front, while lunch has a larger selection, followed by dinner (which typically has the largest selection overall). This menu just begs to be explored, no matter what time of the day you are visiting the restaurant.

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Salty’s

When I’m going to a seafood restaurant, this is the kind of menu I want to see. The illustrations are great, and the overall feel of the brand definitely reminds me of the beach. The menu being rubber-banded to the wood backing board is a nice touch, too. Overall, the presentation is an inexpensive, easy way to make a customer feel perceived value in their meal, all while enhancing their dining experience.

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Do any of these menu options whet your appetite to further bolster your restaurant’s brand to create a positive dining experience to make your customers take notice – and come back for a second helping? Contact our team of uber-talented creative design experts today to determine how we can help you achieve your goals!