Shortlisted 2020

Corporate Influencer



Entered by:



Can We Live Better?

The Challenge

Bayer is a well-recognized life science brand with aided awareness of +92%. However, its brand acceptance was not as strong as it ranged from 25-41% across different markets. We also expected Bayer’s consideration to fall as a result of the Monsanto acquisition.

It was clear that we had to maintain brand metrics in order to avoid a decline as well as change opinions by communicating the world’s challenges and Bayer’s ‘Can We Live Better?’ positioning in the face of worsening consumer perception.

The Creative Solution

We knew from Search data that there was an appetite for genuinely powerful and compelling stories about improving the quality of our lives that Bayer could tell. We had to understand how to share them in the most impactful, yet authentic and emotional way, to negate the falling brand metrics and generate positive sentiment in priority countries.

While a proportion of consumers would be receptive to Bayer telling these stories, we also identified the need to reach our audience via other storytellers who would bring an alternative credibility.

We took a personal approach – authentic stories about people’s everyday lives – as a deeply effective method of warming consumers to Bayer’s brand purpose. We also learned that multiple authentic narrators, rather than one overpowering brand voice, generated real consideration and acceptance.

We had to encourage a broad, challenging audience to engage and invest time with our stories, enabling them to express opinions, preventing further brand deterioration, and at scale.

Our objective was to engage two broaderBayer target audiences – Today’s and Future consumers. We then further targeted to sub-segments within those groups at timely moments with relevant stories, and in so doing, encourage them to spend time reappraising the Bayer brand.

Bayer created a content hub writing stories about Health, Society, Environment and Innovation. Whilst they published articles featuring their fight to end malaria and improve cancer care, they also produced more personal stories, such as, advising how to look after yourself over the winter in facing the common cold. Topics were published and targeted at pertinent times; cold treatment over the winter and allergy advice as Spring began to blossom.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

To be truly consumer centric, our media strategy was guided by our target audience sub segment behaviour.

People displaying lean-forward interest in topics were tactically encouraged to come to the content hub, read multiple articles, spending time engaging with the brand. Our success here measured by the time people spent on site (a ‘quality visit’).

People exhibiting lean-back general topic interest were push targeted with video content in contextually relevant areas. Here we measured the cost and time spent watching brand video content as a marker of success.

Our challenger audience, our greatest detractors, were met head on through impactful editorial partnerships – our authentic multiple voice narrators – to activate brand reappraisal. Group Nine and National Geographic were chosen as powerful allies in credible brand story telling.

Bayer’s lean forward audience were found through topical Search; e.g., our pregnancy nutrition article targeted expectant mums looking for valuable advice. Bayer content was also adapted to live natively on relevant editorial websites, driving engagement.

Programmatic and YouTube video targeted the lean back audience for contextual relevance and quality, optimised towards increased consumption and reduced cost.

Social media focussed on video distribution and engaging posts; targeting business audiences programmatically and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with topically relevant content. New engagement and poll placements prompted brand interaction, while we analysed sentiment and engagement rates for additional content and optimisation.

Group Nine’s NowThis (#1 video news brand globally on mobile) and Seeker (#1 science brand in the U.S.) platforms hit Future consumers at scale. We created two video series – Global GameChangers, highlighting the greatest minds advancing society today, and NextGeneration, pairing ‘today’ & ‘future’ talent. Content ran across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, with a NowThis hub hosting our impactful hero films, featuring Bayer’s own talent, as well as external talent from organisations such as Joyn Bio, Climate Corp and the Seattle Research Children’s Institute.

National Geographic engaged a strong balance of Today and Future consumers, creating bespoke content across TV, editorial features, hero videos, infographic videos and social (including Facebook Live) across 11 themes. Content was housed within the “Questions For A Better Life” hub on Nat Geo. “The Moment”, a takeover of National Geographic’s social accounts launched on World Science Day, putting us at the heart of conversation around science and innovation, we then launched content on a new topic every 2-4 weeks.

The Result

Through Search and Native we drove 28 million Quality Visits to the Bayer Content hub, whilst Cost Per Quality visit was optimised down 75.4% across the 11 months of the campaign.

Through Programmatic, YouTube and Social we completed 520m video views, with the Cost of completion optimised down 76%.

Social channels drove engagement rates of ~4% for the targeted B2B audiences, and in excess of 30% for Future Consumers when targeting them with allergy content across Easter weekend, when pollen counts were unseasonably high.

Critically for such a sensitive time for Bayer, the Corporate campaign recorded a campaign Viewability of 79.4%, 25% above IAS benchmark, and a fraud rate of just 0.74%, 19.6% better than IAS benchmark, with all negative news areas excluded.

The Group Nine activity (to date) has seen 52.8m video views and 122k engagements across the NextGeneration and GameChangers series. The partnership reached 38 million people and videos hit a 5.41% completion rate (matching the top end of the benchmark).

Our bespoke content with National Geographic has had a huge average dwell time of 4mins 30s and completion rate of 60%. The Moment over delivered on social impressions by 21% with sentiment analysis showing positive reactions from 59% of people across Instagram.

Crucially, Millward Brown recorded that the different topics raised Brand Favourability by 73% and Purchase Intent by 50% across markets. We increased the bar significantly in France, our toughest challenge, with brand affinity up 7.2% and purchase intent up 9.5%. Similarly, in the US, where Bayer made headline news facing thousands of high-profile court cases, brand favourability dropped just 0.1% whilst affinity grew 0.4%.