Growth Through Smart Media Planning and Buying: A Case Study

Media theory is great.

Research and data is better.

Actual experience and results are the best. 

SUJA, an organic juice brand partially owned by Coca-Cola, was in a unique position. They had challenging growth goals to reach and a modest (compared to the rest of the category) budget to hit them with. Our mission as their partner was to build and execute a “smarter” media plan that maximized every dollar without falling into the lower funnel only trap.

After analyzing the challenge and SUJA’s consumer research, we made three primary strategic choices to get them there: 

1. Data

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We used data that went well beyond media. The brand team shared not only SUJA’s strongest markets to focus our investment, but the most profitable markets per unit sold, meaning we had a winning hand going in to the media plan design.

And by creating deeper target personas of our target segments of organic juice drinkers through syndicated research, we were able to precisely target the adults most likely to not just pick up, but actively seek out SUJA on shelves.

Knowing the brand’s assets were all Digital and that we were not beholden for any reason to a national media plan allowed us to cherry pick markets and media channels for maximum profit impact. 

2. Creativity

When all of the brand’s assets were Digital, we added Traditional media to the plan. My team believes that creative media ideas are more impactful, memorable and effective uses of media dollars, so we created the world’s first Living Media plan. SUJA took over one of Melrose Avenue’s/Los Angeles’ busiest intersections + outdoor media walls and created an Instagram-worthy outdoor execution seen over nine million times: The Living Social Wall.

Boldly proclaiming, “People in LA love kale. And taking photos in front of wings. You’re welcome.” SUJA created Kale Wings for photos. Every weekend, people lined up to take photos in front of the wall. Businesses noticed more traffic and asked to keep the wall up longer than four weeks.

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Then we put up the world's first Plantable Wildpostings. We attached thousands of seed packets to traditional Wildposting installations. These were seen over thirty million times with celery, carrots and spinach seeds planted across California.  

3. Personality

We brought the brand’s personality to life. Rather than only choosing basic programmatic media formats (which helped us score reach) we found media partners that could bring SUJA’s personality to life as well. Our favorite was GumGum, a vendor who created memorable in-image and on-page ads with custom animations that were impossible to ignore and so much more interesting than typical banners.

4. (Bonus) Risk-Taking

The brand invested in breakthrough creative. SUJA delivered videos and other digital assets that were unignorably SUJA (see below). Perhaps this production left us with a few less dollars for working media, but we knew every one of those dollars was going to work twice as hard due to the team’s investment in the right creative.

How Did It Perform?

While all of our markets outperformed our goals, the traditional + digital markets saw:

  • Thousands of visitors to our outdoor locations, providing SUJA with six-figure earned media value and massive coverage as people lined up on the weekends for photos

  • A 16% sales lift for the brand vs. non-outdoor markets

  • Awareness rose 7% overall, doubling our goal

  • Suja had over 60x increase in social engagements where our living media ran, and 33% increase in web visits  

And the best surprise of all? We won AdWeek’s Media Plan of the Year

What Should Growth Oriented Brands Do?

  1. Know that data, and increasingly programmatic and lower funnel, was not the answer by itself - data is the vessel of creativity and relevance

  2. Don’t be one-dimensional. Digital media can be the backbone, but consumers still live in “the real world” which is where brands are still built.

  3. Nothing replaces great creative - when people pay more active attention and recall your brand, every media dollar spent goes further