Pepto Says Big Shift From TV to Digital Increased Sales

peptoNot long ago, 90 percent of Pepto-Bismol’s ad budget was geared towards TV. Now, that percentage is down to 10, the Procter & Gamble brand says, with the majority of the dollars being swung towards digital campaigns.

Kristin Stutz, assistant brand manager for Pepto, spoke with ClickZ about how the shift has lifted retail sales for the stomach remedy product. During the past year for food-and-fun events like the NCAA Final Four, Thanksgiving, and July 4th, her brand has focused online, with YouTube and Facebook advertising leading the way. And it’s doing the same for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday.

“The piece we ultimately want to see is an increase in our sales during these time periods,” Stutz said. During those previous occasions, she said, “We saw a bump of eight to 10 percent for our sales.”

On Monday, Pepto launched a video gadget called “Piñata Smash” on its YouTube channel that lets viewers fill a virtual piñata with items like salsa, guacamole, and chips. Co-developed by creative agency Publicis and digital agency Possible Worldwide, the gadget allows users to create various videos where fun-oriented piñata-gashing activities ensue. The videos, roughly around :30, end with the message: “If you over Fiesta, Pepto has you covered.”

This Sunday, a YouTube homepage takeover buy will utilize videos created with the gadget. On May 4, display ads featuring actress Busy Phillips, star of ABC’s “Cougar Town,” will appear on sites like Evite.com. They’ll link to a :28 video dubbed “Busy’s Boy Toy” (see below).

“We are running media on invitation sites and also general content networks,” Stutz said. “We want to align ourselves with humorous content for Cinco de Mayo.”

Facebook video ads will appear on users’ newsfeed pages leading up to the May 5 event. “They will feature our favorite ‘Piñata Smash’ videos,” the brand manager explained.

The YouTube videos will also be distributed via the earned media of Pepto’s Facebook page (98,000 “likes”) and Twitter account (500 followers). Facebook wall post optimization, Stutz said, has become an increasingly important practice for her marketing team.

“When we send out a post on our wall, we track every single one to see how many people are ‘liking’ it,” she said.

It’s really all about sales, though, for the 175-year-old multinational company from Cincinnati. “The ultimate end goal measure is to ensure that our activities are building the business,” Stutz said.