How Gatorade, Burnbrae Farms are getting creative to reach target audiences

Affiliate Marketing

As part of the launch of MarTech, we are exploring key trends and tactics related to our six main topics. Today we look at an emerging trend in marketing PerformanceClick here to learn more about our mission at MarTech.

There’s a saying, “fish where the fish are.” But in digital marketing, it’s often new platforms and technologies that are key in helping marketers cast in the right direction.

For example, sports drink titan Gatorade recently partnered with Hudl, a platform used by athletes to capture, analyze and even share video clips of their performances, for a new content marketing initiative. The series, “Skills & Drills,” features pro athletes like Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum delivering training tips to student athletes of all levels.

“Collaborating with Hudl on this series has allowed us to hyper-target teen athletes, which the platform reaches in the masses and engages them where they already are,” said Jill Abbott, Gatorade Head of Consumer and Athlete Engagement. “Ultimately, it helps us achieve our goal of helping athletes perform their best, which is our North Star, through content athletes can utilize anytime, anywhere.”

Hudl began as a video tool for coaches in 2006 but its popularity exploded as video content became more prevalent on social media. Coaches still use the platform to break down plays and game tape, and to communicate with their team, but athletes can also share personal highlight reels from the platform on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, a Hudl presence for student athletes in the digital age is about as commonplace as Instagram profiles are for photographers and influencers.

It also has 99% penetration in high school football teams, while catering to 40 other sports, and 170,000 total teams at youth, high school and college levels.

“The beauty of Hudl is that we are a pre-targeted or defined audience,” said Hudl COO Matt Mueller. “You know you are communicating to athletes. To have access you have to be part of an official team.”

Brands can use hyper-targeted messages that wouldn’t work on other platforms, he added. 

During seasons, players and coaches use the platform nonstop. In the offseason, it’s a primary means of staying connected with teammates, coaches and recruiters.

On target

At this point, the potential for marketers to leverage niche platforms that host targeted communities is established. Leaving out TikTok and its nearly 800 million global users (of which more than 60% are between 10 and 29 years old), there’s also the success seen by Twitch, a community for gamers, which now has around 140 million monthly active users. Twitch made nearly $2 billion in revenue in 2020 mostly through a mix of advertising, sponsorship and subscription income.

Hudl, which does not disclose revenue numbers, reaches about 5 million athletes on its platform, and extends out to as many as 80 million consumers through athlete integrations with other social platforms. 

“The strategy from the brand or agency is, what are the overall objectives to the campaign you’re trying to run,” Mueller said. “Think about the long-term brand relationships and think about the touchpoints where you want to be involved. We can be experts in that, down to the granular level, and we can be part of that journey, if you have that quantified.”

Gatorade’s Skills & Drills video series is being broadcast on Hudl’s iOS and Android apps. Jayson Tatum’s instructions on cardio training are in the first trio of videos that will expand to 25 episodes in the Skills & Drills series. The other two videos feature elite trainers on pro teams. Philadelphia Eagles Director of Performance Ted Rath gives a demonstration on speed training, while New York Mets Strength and Conditioning Coach Dustin Clarke provides instruction on agility training.

“As a brand, we’re continuing to look for ways that we can expand beyond providing our athletes with products to help them perform at their best, and being able to provide this type of access to high-quality, on-demand skills tutorials is another example of that,” said Abbott.

Clip it

For Burnbrae Farms, a leading Canadian egg brand that is rolling out a new egg-based health beverage called Promuna, the secret to finding its target audience came from a digital reimaging of classic supermarket coupon campaigns.

The company and its agency, Toronto-based FUSE Create, has been leveraging Flipp, a digital coupon platform, to target Millennials with children.

The platform, which touts more than 50 million app downloads, offers digital coupons for a host of major retailers that users can save and present in store while buying in person. 

“The Flipp App will tell you what store the product is at, and it’s a great place to launch a new product,” explained Rita Steinberg, Digital Media Director at FUSE.

The Promuna launch is being promoted by a multichannel campaign that includes social and TV buys, but the purpose in using Flipp is really about creating a final touchpoint that leads to the sale.

“We’ve been fairly active socially throughout in promoting our products,” said Sue Hudson, Digital Marketing Director, Communications for Burnbrae Farms. “What hopefully makes this campaign a little different, is leveraging platforms like Flipp, because we can’t sample in-store.”

All eyes on data

When assessing what digital channels to leverage in the Promuna launch, FUSE Create looked at the performance impact that social platforms had, specifically on the consumer packaged goods category.

“What stood out to us was that YouTube and Facebook have 90% reach in that category,” said Luke Moore, VP, Managing Director, Media. “That reach used to be uniquely reserved for TV channels.”

He and his team determined that Facebook and Instagram had to be part of the campaign, to tap into that kind of reach on the awareness side. “Flipp could get us close to the sale and conversion,” Moore said.

They also tapped into Pelmorex, the Canadian weather news network, which offers location-based insights and analytics on first-party data. It can also deliver cross-device targeting for users who watch on TV or get weather news on their mobile devices.

This allowed FUSE Create to serve custom creative based on weather or location, and to identify specific grocery retailers where the Pelmorex piece was driving traffic, according to Moore.

With this data handy, Burnbrae Farms and its partner will be able to optimize the campaign and push more traffic to stores using Flipp and Pelmorex.

The effort is more targeted this way, and also addresses the changing media consumption behaviors of Burnbrae Farms’ younger Millennial and Gen Z audiences. It builds confidence in the new Promuna drink because it’s being marketed where the audience is, on their terms.

“Digital media consumption is where they’re getting their source of entertainment and information, and that’s become even greater during the pandemic,” said Annabelle Nogueira, Director Marketing and Innovation at Burnbrae Farms. 

In other words, they’re fishing where the fish are.

About The Author


Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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