Lessons Learned from Shea Moisture

Penetrating a new demographic can be very tricky, and in today's climate, making the wrong moves, especially as it pertains to attempting to reach certain audiences can feel like a minefield. In this post, we'll be looking at Shea's recent slip-up, and how they could've avoided it on Eleven 

The Shea Moisture Incident 

As you all know, Shea Moisture and its new AOR VaynerMedia ran into trouble a few weeks ago when Black Twitter registered its disapproval of the first ad in the brand’s new campaign. Shea Moisture a hair care line of products that has catered to AA Women for as long as I can remember tried to market its products to a new, larger demo - and it backfired - terribly.  

The ad featured white women, which wasn’t the issue, the issue was that it was totally insensitive to the community in which it was catering to. Needless to say, producing a commercial that does not bode well with your core customer is complete a waste of money. You cannot, I repeat, you CANNOT abandon one community for another - nor can you be insensitive to the realities and issues that your core consumer's faces on a daily basis. 

For Shea, this sucks on multiple levels, but the elephant in the room (at least from a marketers stance) is that they're trapped. They’re seemingly landlocked into a demographic, and if this struggle continues, either corporate interest will further whitewash Shea’s advertising, until the end up losing their customer base altogether - Or, they stick to the Rivers and Lakes they are used to and stop chasing waterfalls. Both those options suck.


Luckily, We’ve got another solution: Programmatic Branded Entertainment.

A Full on Branded Media Plan

All of this could've been avoided on Eleven - Following the 5c's Methodology, Shea Moisture would’ve properly reached their CORE demographic with no issue, and been able to prospect that new demo without ruffling feathers.  Eleven’s System plugs directly into traditional ad-tech - meaning Eleven would pull audiences directly from Shea Moisture’s DMP / CRM / Sales data to accurately target their current customers via branded entertainment.

They would literally be able to see what channels their current/past customers are watching, and work with content creators that resonate with their core audience, to produce entertainment they actually want to consume, from Full on Series integrations to influencer campaigns.

As far as reaching a new demographics with entertainment, they could do that in literally hundreds of different ways on Eleven. Like Gary’s "jab jab jab right hook" method you build credibility within your core audiences first. We do that by providing entertainment. 

The Beauty of Eleven is that they can go as big or small as the Advertiser and Creators can imagine, lending itself to some amazingly robust media planning capabilities. This can be used as an entire roadmap for a branded media rollout. 

Sponsor Popular Entertainment.

Brands can achieve massive reach in both current and prospective audience segments by sponsoring entire series of content that reach an appropriate amount of both targets.  This would cast a net that would mainly attract their core consumer but would reach the portions their prospect demo that would be interested in Shea Moisture at all. Think of it as Retargeting your core audience segment, and prospecting a new target based on “pivot points” of shared interest and habits. To target a new market, they would simply need to tailor the exposure they allocate to the new target audience segment to achieve their penetration goals

Here’s how they would get this done:  

Shea Moisture could’ve sponsored a series like HBO’s Insecure

Imagine if Shea Moisture had asked Issa Rae to simply be the hair care sponsor for her series Insecure for the next season. Insecure is a show that we know is getting more than its’ fair share of viewership within their core demographic -- way more than that ad would ever see no matter how much they spent on placing it across the web.

All Issa would have to do is make sure they're in the shots or story when she’s doing something with her hair or getting ready for a date or something. Simple.

Now, a portion of the production costs of the show has been covered by Shea Moisture to be integrated into the storyline of the show throughout the season. But’s that’s only for that industry vertical, the inventory is still open to other sponsors in non-competing industries. If Issa wanted to, she could “Stack” sponsors to cover the entire production costs.

This puts Issa in a position to tell the stories about how an awkward black girl has with her hair as it relates to her personal life - in work, in relationships, and more - think about that - That’s giving the power to the creator, and a tremendous amount of creative freedom to interpret it via entertainment. Being able to be a central fixture in how a community deals with real life issues, in a story told by one of the greatest writers of our generation is an honor that any brand should jump at.


Retargeting and Prospecting via Niche Outlets

Shea Moisture could then send shockwaves of entertainment through smaller, more targeted outlets. From there, Shea can just retarget those audience segments based hundreds of data points from locations to shared interests and media consumption behaviors, with subsequent media exposures. They can even see all the same metrics they would for traditional media like GRP, Reach, and Frequency.

Retargeting is simple, just find the channels your core is consuming content on.  

Every Episode of Insecure is followed by the insecuritea podcast hosted by 2 of Insecure’s core audience’s biggest podcast personalities Crissle, and Hey Fran Hey. Shea moisture could not only sponsor Insecuritea, but could use Eleven to send off a shockwave of Sponsored Content via the channels that their Core and Prospective customers consume.

Imagine if every major hair vlogger, black, white, brown, whatever -  talked about last week's episode of Insecure while doing their videos on snapchat, Instagram, Live.me, and using Shea moisture products in their core programming like Youtube Reviews and tutorials. Not only are they exposing their audiences to Shea’s product line, but they are also suggesting they watch Insecure by bringing it up, re-routing them to consume the main course, Insecure.

Imagine if every Podcast, big or small that reached that community was sponsored by Shea moisture during that season of insecure. All of this can be scheduled from executed and tracked by both VaynerMedia and Shea Moisture in the Eleven Platform.

Shea Moisture can keep this up forever.

It doesn't have to stop there - Shea Moisture can use Eleven to integrate into communities all year round, throwing “Jabs” as Gary V would put it - to a community via other sponsorships.  

For example, there’s a great erotic drama, Black Widow, that would no doubt have some opportunities to talk about how Shea Moisture relates to the experience of that community in relationships. I for one know for a fact that for a lot of us, Shea and Cocoa Butter is a scent next to Godliness, and a casual, sponsored namedrop in this context is something you should jump on now, not later. We’ll get into our views on Brand Safety later.

Actually, I believe Issa’s writing a movie with Lupita, and Rihanna as some super thieves or something, how awesome would it be if they had some super awesome gadgets that look like normal things any Black woman might have in her bag - tons of integration spaces in that concept. Stay tuned for more on that. 

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