Mars leveraged Aki’s moment marketing technology, a mobile marketing solution which the company says predicts when a consumer will be receptive and then targets ads by more than 160 individual moments to drive sales. Aki customized a moment strategy specifically for CVS shoppers, Dove and M&M purchasers, plus drug store shoppers, Millennials and chocolate candy shoppers to ensure consumers were influenced during key moments throughout their day, matching the creatives to the occasion and mindset, according to Crandall. For example, the Mother's Day Dove Chocolates aesthetic was different than the M&M "Messages" creative the game leveraged for Father's Day.
Aki utilized rich media interstitial ads in addition to standard banners. For the Father’s Day-themed M&M’s gamified program, Aki aligned to “moments that work” including the after-dinner moment and the relaxing after-work moment. Plus, the creative and messaging aimed to encourage safe, CDC guideline-compliant celebrating and provide comfort to people in uncertain times.
Aki and Mars saw gamification as a major asset during a pandemic. With the majority of the impressions being served to users while they were at home, McElligott and Crandall said they found consumers were highly receptive and willing to engage.
Media results also did what they hoped they would. “We were able to drive impressions and clicks to ultimately drive consumer traffic. We gave our consumers fun reminders that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were soon and that they should add something special to their gift," said McElligott. "We also wanted to pull at the heart strings of our consumers by communicating our 'red, white and blue' cause marketing program with the [United Service Organizations nonprofit]."
Crandall said gamified rich media interstitial performed exceptionally well with a click-through-rate well over the companies' 1.00% benchmark. Banners also exceeded their 0.40% CTR benchmark. But she noted that the main reason this program had the life it did was because of scale. The bigger budget meant more access to more program measurements and sales lift studies from Aki.