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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Zevo #WaySmarterThanBugs Influencer Program

Finalist in Instagram Partnership

Audience Honor in Family & Parenting

Entered in Instagram Presence


Insect control is not necessarily a top-of-mind topic for consumers because they’ve become complacent in their choices within a category that has barely evolved in decades. We were tasked with educating consumers that they don't have to choose between the scary black cans of chemicals or the safe products that don’t solve the problem. But, how could we shake this up and disrupt the home insecticide category to secure our position as the preferred brand during peak bug season? How would we go up against Raid, which controls nearly half the U.S. market?


We quickly saw an opportunity to utilize the unique power of social influence to pique consumer engagement by honing in on the key differentiators between Zevo and the competition, and by targeting influencers who speak directly to our target consumers: parents, pet owners, those who pride themselves on maintaining a beautiful, clean home and those that are eco-conscious. We needed an army of advocates to validate and raise awareness of Zevo with the right consumer audience. We knew we needed to tap into a robust group of people who could drive our message forward and inspire action, and we set out to build the most influential program we could build. 


Our main objectives in this campaign were using influencer content across key target segments, to drive awareness of the Zevo brand, drive in-store sales at Target and Home Depot during the bug season time frame, and drive traffic to product pages on the aforementioned retailers’ websites.

Strategy and Execution

Zevo had limited distribution in 2019 -- we were shelved in a subset of Target and Home Depot -- so our strategy was simple but smart: make Zevo look big, popular and desirable among shoppers. Competitive brands employed more traditional media (tv, in-store merch, etc.), but were relatively quiet on social… so we decided to own the social space.


We began our influencer program with a small group of influencers that were commissioned to drive affiliate links to the brand’s website via blog posts and social shares. We quickly saw this particular content was yielding underwhelming results (1.8 % engagement rate), so we used key findings to shift our approach. We then structured our program in waves so that we could pulse out content during relevant times and also assess content in real time to gather insights. We approached each influencer wave with the mindset that we would test, learn and pivot our strategy if necessary. 


To ensure quickturn decisions could be confidently made, we devised a unique scoring system that allowed us to analyze each post with standardized criteria. Content was scored based on different factors including how the product was showcased, the quality of image, and the length of caption or number of hashtags used. These data enabled us to objectively quantify content by creating a formula that assigned each piece of coverage a score ranging from 1-5 (5 being the highest). This score was engineered to take impressions, photo content, and engagement rate into account for all 935 placements. Moreover, we correlated these quality ratings with in-store sales performance – building a mathematical model that will help us structure and optimize future influencer campaigns but solving for the most efficient mix of reach, engagement rate and content to deliver business growth. 


To grab consumers’ attention and shake them out of insect elimination complacency, we aimed to prove how effective and safe Zevo is through authentic content, by enticing and amplifying hot deals and driving to the familiar retailers we know these consumers already love. We saw that Instagram and Instagram Stories were performing particularly well, so we strategically dialed that up going forward.Depending on the influencer and timing, we assigned either a Target or Home Depot call-to-action to the influencer content in order to push in-store sales at retail. Our creative brief directed influencers to produce quality lifestyle images with our products, while including retailer branding in the shot. Examples here.


We put paid support behind strong pieces of influencer content to help drive more views and click-throughs of our Target Cartwheel deal and worked hand-in-hand with both the Target and Home Depot teams at P&G in order to align on goals and key dates. We saw that our retail-specific content, especially content with an incentivizing offer, made for highly engaging and relatable content that really resonated with followers. Our performance analysis, coupled with sales data from both Target and Home Depot, started showing us that the program was gaining traction and was yielding strong results. 


In the end, Zevo’s #WaySmarterThanBugs Influencer program surpassed our expectations and directly drove sales and brand awareness. In total, the Citizen team pulsed out nine different waves of influencer activity between April and October that resulted in 935 influencer placements. More than 1.7 million people engaged with Zevo influencer content at a rate of >3x higher than the average campaign. Influencer impressions accounted for 26.5 million of our total impressions this year, helping Zevo reach a 5% aided awareness level. The influencer program helped directly drive in-store results. Target sales were up (on average) in weeks when influencers pushed Zevo/Target content (+15%) and down in weeks when they didn’t (-5%). The same pattern is reflected in weekly Home Depot sales growth rates. Content with paid amplification behind it resulted in 6,668 clicks to Target Cartwheel and an 18% click-through rate.

The work we have done will change the way Citizen and Zevo/P&G build future campaigns. The analytical approach to influencer content evaluation and correlation to sales outcomes is foundational to building our next 2020 Zevo program. Most importantly, the program helped deliver Zevo’s 2019 business goals and grow the business.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Citizen Relations, Zevo


Entry Credits