Making The Switch

The Delicious Power Of Content Darwinism



From year to year, Jennie-O Turkey Store ran a mix of TV, print, paid search, social, digital media and more. Everything was going well, but they knew if they wanted to take the brand to the next level they would have to get more strategic and use more data to drive their decisions. In 2014, Jennie-O decided to take their biggest competitor, ground beef, head-on and get current users to “make the switch” from beef to turkey. They used tacos as their flagship recipe, but leveraged the versatility of turkey to encourage user to simply use ground turkey in their favorite recipes in place of ground beef.

Due to the success Barefoot Proximity was already seeing with paid search, Jennie-O leaned on us to make the rest of their media work harder.


Since we had already seen so much success with Jennie-O paid search, we decided to approach all digital media with the rigor, specificity and hyper-targeting that was originally reserved for paid search. We started with banner ads. Jennie-O had been using programmatic buying for years to get in front of the right people based on behavior, demographics and psychographics. We were reaching them, but due to low resources and budgets everyone was seeing the same ads. Since the Make the Switch concept was based on showcasing the versatility of turkey by encouraging people to use it in their favorite recipe, we knew we had to move beyond a single ad variation to something a bit more personal.

As a result, we created a simple static banner template so that messaging, images and calls-to-action could be switched out based on the viewer. From this template came hundreds of ads, each specifically tailored to ensure, similar to search, that we showed the right ad to the right person at exactly the right time.

JennieO_CS_PaidAds 2  JennieO_CS_PaidAds

Our next move was to showcase the versatility even further, by making people aware of the of recipes had available. But with our search mindset, we did not want to simply run a basic CPM banner ad program and wait to see what happened. We utilized Outbrain, a content discovery engine. Outbrain allowed us to not only promote our content on the web, but to continue to test headlines, hone our bids, and optimize, while their algorithm worked to ensure our content reached a relevant and interested audience.

Finally, we leveraged YouTube nationally to support a spot market TV buy. YouTube gave us low-cost, full views of our commercial at scale, but, unlike TV, YouTube was a place that we could test and learn. We could edit the accompanying banner ad, add overlays to encourage clicking and analyze to see where people were pausing or skipping the video,


By using a search mindset to create a media strategy grounded in ongoing testing, learning and real-time optimizations, Jennie-O flourished. Overall, the campaign drove a significant amount of traffic to the site and from December to February turkey taco search volume doubled.

Turkey Taco Search Volume


Display ad click-thru rate was 400% above industry standard, 87% higher than past campaigns, and 30% higher than if we had used a single ad alone. With Outbrain, we were able drive a significant amount of traffic, while improving the account quality to decrease costs. By the end of the campaign CPC had decreased 50%.


With YouTube, we were able to reach our audience nationwide for months. The same budget would have only reached our audience in a single TV market for weeks.