Clorox has partnered with The Huffington Post around content developed by the news site and its contributing mommy bloggers.
The effort comprises some 70 pieces of editorial content, where Clorox branding appears alongside, and 10 pieces of native/custom content created by Huffington Post specifically for Clorox. The effort involves blogs, images, infographics, videos and galleries around parenthood and its accompanying spills, messes and domestic chaos.
Amanda Mahan, associate marketing director at Clorox, tells Marketing Daily that the company hasn't done a campaign this comprehensive heretofore -- one that touts the entire product lineup. “In the past we have focused partnerships on one product; this time we really wanted to span the entire portfolio of products and this gives us the scale. Consumers don't necessarily differentiate Clorox products as if they were different brands.”
In addition to a framing advertising buy, the partnership is a collaborative effort, with Huffington Post developing ideas, and Clorox choosing the ones that fit, per Mahan. “They are creating the campaign's custom content, and that's why we selected them in particular. We have had experiences in the past where we tried media partnerships in which they developed content as part of it, and it doesn't always work. We think we have a specific brand voice, and that has to be brought to life.”
She adds that Clorox will walk a delicate line between interacting bloggers without telling them what to write. And the bloggers won't talk about Clorox products. “We aren't asking them to review products, we want them to talk about parenthood. And we have a process: they know their audience and what topics are interesting to them, then we work together brainstorming ideas, they go back and refine and we select ones that are the best fit. And the content is going to be regenerating.”
One of the bloggers is Melissa Sher, who has written for TheNew York Times, Chicago Tribune and (in her words) "bathroom stalls all over the country." A typical post: “Oh Sh*t, I'm So Tired (A Poem for New Mothers).” In one of her contributions for Clorox, “13 Lessons My Kids’ Messy Moments Have Taught Me,” Clorox's only presence is a “Presented by Clorox” header, and an interactive logo banner that takes viewers to the Clorox "Bleachable Moments" social campaign page.
Says Mahan, “She is very relatable and anyone who is a parent can understand and laugh at these moments. Today's icky mess is tomorrow's Facebook post.” The success of the partnership and the six-month campaign will, per Mahan, be based on driving page views and Clorox site traffic, social engagements and ultimately, the Clorox comScore brand study.
Lauri Baker, VP of branded content at Huffington Post tells Marketing Daily that the media channel steers native content by swerving from the dedicated microsite model, which requires a media buy and crossed fingers. Rather, the focus, she says, is adjacency to relevant editorial content, or brand-centric content produced at Huffington Post's Partner Studio. "We are able to curate and tag content across the entire Huff Post ecosystem. So you will see Clorox adjacent to editorial material, leveraging organic traffic and eliminating the need for them to spend media dollars to drive people there. We are creating an ecosystem of relevance for them." She says, for example, that the Melissa Sher blog to which Clorox is adjacent, has gotten over 85,000 page views, 65,000 of which came from social referrals.
Other initial content includes a video with kids talking about germs, listicles and editorial content. And the effort may extend into consumer content elements. “We are exploring doing social consumer content,” says Mahan. “One of the great things about Huffington Post and [owner] AOL is that they have sophisticated listening tools around what's resonating with their audience. And when we find something is taking off we can see if there are ways to lean into that with consumer generated content.”