Burt’s Bees Gets Creative with Shopper Content
Authentic influencer content is one way Clorox Co.’s Burt’s Bees establishes trust with beauty and self-care shoppers, and the brand’s multiyear relationship with celebrity Jana Kramer provided the foundation needed to continue reaching Walmart shoppers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The authentic content and the trust we’ve built with the shoppers over the years really speaks for itself. We’ve proven a cohesive and compelling story across the years that really drives awareness and drives sales to launch new Burt’s Bees items at Walmart,” said Clorox's Mille Alderman, omnichannel marketing lead for Walmart, during a Path to Purchase Digital Expo panel presentation.
While the pandemic disrupted an in-person photo shoot planned for April 2020, the partnership lived on. Burt’s Bees felt comfortable moving forward with a virtual photo shoot thanks to the history the brand had built with Kramer as well as ViacomCBS and TPN.
Burt’s Bees first identified Kramer as a trusted celebrity influencer whose voice resonates with both its brand audience and Walmart shoppers in 2017. That year, the country music artist and actress flew to Bentonville for a photo shoot supporting the brand’s new cosmetics launch at Walmart. The resulting social content laddered up to the product’s national “I’m not synthetic” launch messaging while targeting the Walmart busy mom and the Millennial mom.
“We thought shooting in a store was very critical to tell the story and it was so important to have the cosmetics buyer on location,” Alderman said. “We really needed that compelling reason for shoppers to seek out Burt’s Bees beauty and to drive that new product awareness and trial and repeat purchase.”
The following year, the brand brought Kramer back to promote an expanded offering of natural beauty products at Walmart. The partners shot in Bentonville again, but this time on a set, optimizing still and video content as well as targeting. The effort overdelivered on impressions and engagement, according to co-presenter Stephanie Lipsey, group director at TPN.
“It’s so important for us to match the authenticity and quality of Burt’s Bees products with our content, and thanks to the dedication of everyone involved, we did,” Lispey said, as an example noting how Kramer provided a genuine voice when teasing the content in an Instagram story.
In 2019, the partners strayed from Bentonville and instead created a four-season set in Los Angeles to shoot content slated for social media and walmart.com. "The purpose was really to capture evergreen seasonally relevant images that we could then use throughout the year,” Aldermen said.
The partners applied learnings from the previous years on the kind of content that resonates strongest with Kramer’s fan base and added an in-show segment on Country Music Television’s “Hot 20 Countdown” that aligned perfectly with Walmart shoppers, Aldermen said.
In April 2020, everyone was set to reconvene for another four-seasons shoot in Kramer’s Nashville home but had to pivot to a virtual shoot as the U.S. adopted a policy of social distancing to flatten rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates. For this shoot, the partners leaned in to the increased focus on self-care during the lockdown.
While a virtual shoot raised some concerns, ViacomCBS did the heavy prep work that made the process run smoothly. “Our wonderful team spent about 100 hours on Zoom video conferencing getting ready for this just to make sure that we could maximize our time that day and get all of that seasonal yearly content in just one day of remote shooting,” said co-presenter Susan Bagley, director of sales, shopper marketing at ViacomCBS.
The prep work included sending Kramer a shoot-from-home kit with equipment such as lighting and a phone with an app that would let the TPN and Clorox teams be on in real time to give feedback over Zoom.
“You guys were very thorough and that’s what helped us tremendously,” said co-presenter Kramer, who enlisted her husband and manager for the at-home shoot. “You guys did your research before, you tested it out, and then it was truly shot by shot. The shots then went to y’all and you approved it or we tweaked it, and it felt like you were in the bathroom with us.”
Despite the restrictions and limitations that impacted production capabilities, Burt’s Bees was happy with the resulting campaign.
“I truly believe that it is just as good as if we would have been there in person and it was even more relevant to be discussing self-care during the lockdown. So, I think it feels very authentic. It was still very quality content,” Alderman said. “We’ll continue to use this content throughout the year to drive sales at Walmart in this omnichannel way especially as shopping is changing so rapidly.”