Malaysian Media Awards Winners Showcase

2021 | |

Automation at Scale : Unilever Assisting Ramadan

Advertiser: Unilever
Brand: Knorr, Lady's Choice & Lipton
Creative Agency: N/A
Credits: -

Objective & Challenge
Unilever one of the largest foods & refreshment company has a website which hosts all cooking recipes helping Malaysians to make their favorite meals using Unilever products as ingredients. During COVID19 lockdown, since everyone had to be home, there was a surge in recipe searches and all food advertisers jumped on the band wagon to showcase recipes. Unilever wanted to reconnect with Muslims during this time by breaking through the clutter & increasing their recipe website visits. With Ramadan around the corner, most Malaysians were preparing for the festivities. Since they had to spend more time at home this year, there was a big change in the way they shop for Ramadan & prepare for Raya (end of Ramadan). Search engines became their window to the world outside. During Ramadan, the exact time of the evening meal (iftar) and the morning meal (suhoor) change every day and is different for every city. Search for puasa (fasting) and zakat fitrah (tithe) had spiked, to know the time for the start and break of fast, as well as locations and online options for paying zakat. This resulted in a significant increase in Ramadan related search queries on a daily basis.

Insight & Strategy
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar where Muslims observe a month of fasting. Unilever identified Ramadan as the perfect opportunity to connect with Malaysia’s fasting population. It is the time to reconnect with friends and family, especially on the dinner table. There is a 3X month on month surge in search for recipes before, during, and after the festival. We designed a search ad campaign to provide users with a live countdown to breaking fast time, running ads across 14 cities for 3 brands Knorr, Lady’s Choice and Lipton. By capturing users’ attention by sharing relevant information on our search ads, we aimed to increase traffic to the brands’ Ramadan recipes page.

We needed a way to automate ad text to stay relevant in every search result for “when is iftar,” “when is suhoor,” etc. We built a database of all iftar and suhoor times. Then we implemented a 2 prong search approach. First, Iftar countdown ad copies running during fasting days till 7 days before Raya. Followed by a Raya countdown copy which ran from 6 days to Raya. The system then generated real time search ads were customized at every hour to show how much time was left for Iftar and encouraged searchers to cook their favorite traditional meal by directing them to ‘’ Unilever’s food recipe site. The campaign displayed a mix of ad relevance, informative text and automation.

The campaign delivered a 3X better than benchmark CTR which means that the campaign drove 3 times more traffic to the foods website. Campaign overall saw a 211% increase in impressions, 169% increase in clicks and 48% lower CPC compared to Q1 period. Generic keywords, i.e. keywords not necessarily related to products getting this high CTR is uncommon. In terms of business, we seen a positive growth from Knorr where the smaller segment with brands portfolio gain bigger growth which make up to 47% share of market compared to 43% previous year. Meanwhile, Lady’s Choice growing ahead of category by +11% point. As for Tea, we gained +100bps mainly from potbag which directly contribute for family home consumption.