Orabrush: Expansion to Walmart profiled in Ad Age

A New Way to Walmart Shelves: Social Media

How Orabrush Bucked Traditional Model of Distribution, Then Marketing by Using Facebook and YouTube First

Getting a packaged-goods brand into Walmart or other national distribution may never quite be the same, as demonstrated by how a bootstrap marketer of tongue cleaners worked its way onto Walmart’s shelves using social media.

Orabrush, which for the first two years of its existence was a lot better at generating YouTube views and publicity than actual sales, has landed the biggest of national accounts — Walmart — thanks to its deft and low-cost use of social media. Specifically, the brand leveraged more than 39 million views of its funny YouTube videos and a $28 campaign of Facebook ads directed mainly at a Walmart buyer to land distribution in 3,500 Walmart stores this month.

While the same exact tactics probably won’t work for another brand, the success of Orabrush is an indicator of how much social media can change the game in a seemingly staid industry dominated by giants, according to Andrew Whitman, managing partner of 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners, a Chicago-based private-equity firm that invests in startup packaged-goods companies, including Orabrush. “The game has totally changed,” he said, adding that low-cost social-media strategies “have leveled the playing field dramatically.” In the same way music acts now launch themselves without mediation by major record labels, he said startup packaged-goods brands can bypass the usual channels and overcome some — but not all — of the big marketing and distribution advantages of established behemoths.

In the case of Orabrush, the brand won national distribution at Walmart with little conventional marketing or its executives ever meeting a buyer face to face. Founded in 2009 in Salt Lake City, Orabrush last year was contacted by a Walmart store manager in Utah who wanted to give the product a try in his store. Under a policy revived under Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon, the manager had the authority to do so. He in turn convinced about 20 others in Utah after a store tour to try Orabrush, which used the data from those sales to sway executives at Walmart headquarters.

But it was still hard to get an audience with the buyer. So Orabrush Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Harmon earlier this year bought $28 worth of Facebook ads targeted at Walmart employees in Northwest Arkansas reading: “Walmart employees have bad breath. Walmart needs to carry Orabrush. It will sell better than anything in your store.” The Facebook campaign proved a lot more effective than $20,000 in print ads in retail trade magazines, which only generated calls from other trade magazine sales reps, Mr. Harmon said.

Within 48 hours of launching the Facebook ad, Mr. Harmon got an email from the buyer, who said her VP also had seen it and believed it was being directed at Walmart employees nationwide. The buyer, after also seeing a DVD and sales kit on the Orabrush story, placed an order for 735,000 tongue cleaners shipped last month.

A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed the distribution in 3,500 stores, but said she couldn’t immediately confirm details of the negotiations or how the deal came about.

In part, the strategy harks to a bygone era in packaged-goods marketing — the 1950s — when marketers would force distribution by first turning on advertising and getting consumers to pressure retailers. Inquiries from consumers who saw the exploits of Orabrush’s “Morgan the Tongue” on YouTube, for example, led U.K. retailer Boots to place an order, Mr. Harmon said. National distribution with CVS begins next month, he said, and Orabrush already has distribution in the U.K., Japan and Canada, thanks largely to its YouTube following.

“We have a reverse marketing model,” he said. “Normally you get distribution and your supply chain in order, all your packaging and everything perfected, and then launch an ad campaign and start branding it. We started branding, even changing our logo as we went along and getting everything right messaging-wise, and then two years later we’re in national retail launching to enough demand that the sales are blowing a lot of retailers away.”

That has led to such oddities as nearly 40 million YouTube views, 300,000 Facebook fans for a brand that has sold only about 2 million units, mainly online. Orabrush also has generated about 30 million media impressions through coverage in such outlets as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and ABC’s “Nightline.”

Mr. Harmon acknowledged that the tongue-cleaner business has been small and mostly unsuccessful for retailers up to now, leading to some retailer skepticism. But he said YouTube has worked to get Orabrush distribution, and he’ll stick with it to move product off the shelf, too. All the YouTube (and other) advertising has been done in-house, mainly with student filmmakers from Mr. Harmon’s alma mater, Brigham Young University.

Walmart’s local-vendor and “store of the community” policies, while not as wide-open as in the days of Sam Walton, still can be a powerful tool for a startup brand, said one sales rep familiar with the retailer. To the extent social media can inspire people to contact Walmart store managers or buyers to carry an item, it also can help build a case for distribution in a store or nationally.

While in the past Walmart had printed forms customers could fill out requesting an item be carried, today emails directed to the retailer get routed to buyers. That can help influence decisions at the national level. But individual store managers can often be swayed to take on or bring back local items, he said, which in turn can lead to larger regional buys.

Anand Rajaraman, senior VP global e-commerce for Walmart, said at the Advertising Age Digital West conference Sept. 20 that social media will be a key determinant of what local stores carry in the future.

“We’re analyzing social information from the neighborhood area of each store to figure out how the interests of that community should dictate what we carry in that store,” he said. “We might find the Walmart store in Mountain View, Calif., should have a bigger bike section because lots of people bike in that area, while the store in Bentonville, Ark., should have a bigger fishing section.”

Sales data can tell Walmart about the past and products it already carries, he said, but “they don’t give us information about new products, and they aren’t a demand predictor.”

Walmart is clearly emphasizing product innovation, said another sales rep, but last year’s effort to reverse assortment cutbacks is largely finished in many areas, such as grocery. Any kind of grassroots effort to build social-media support for a new product, he said, will only work in categories where it isn’t already well stoked, which is hard. And marketers need to be prepared, like Orabrush, to produce large quantities quickly, he said, because the retailer is working with far less lead time than it once did.

See full article at http://adage.com/article/digital/a-walmart-shelves-social-media/230126.

72 thoughts on “Orabrush: Expansion to Walmart profiled in Ad Age”

  1. What i do not realize is in truth how you are no longer actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be right now.

    You’re very intelligent. You know therefore significantly on the subject
    of this subject, made me in my view believe it from numerous varied
    angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it’s one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga!

    Your own stuffs nice. Always take care of it up!

  2. I know this site provides quality dependent articles or reviews
    and additional data, is there any other site which presents these kinds of information in quality?

  3. Awesome site you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the
    same topics discussed in this article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I
    can get suggestions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thanks!

  4. After looking over a few of the articles on your site, I seriously like your technique
    of blogging. I added it to my bookmark website list
    and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and
    tell me what you think.

  5. I think the admin of this website is actually working hard
    in support of his web page, because here every information is quality
    based stuff.

  6. Fantastic goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and
    you are just too great. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it.
    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I can’t wait to read much more from you. This is really a great
    web site.

  7. You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation but I
    find this matter to be actually one thing which I think I’d never
    understand. It sort of feels too complex and very large for me.
    I’m taking a look ahead in your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get the hold of it!

  8. WillieHad Colombia Esperanza
    Zoiladgag Chile YTARandy
    HelenaCon Atletico Madrid OrlandoPe
    AngelitaU Tottenham Hotspurs AntjemhR
    RochelleC Everton ValWicken
    TaylorCro Seattle Sounders LucieZamo
    IsaacWbpg Real Madrid EdwinAzqz
    MarcosSpo Juventuss AshleighD
    JudeValen Argentina PearlineH
    MaggieMel Island TeraMora

  9. obviously like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite
    a few of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I will surely
    come again again.

  10. Its like you read my thoughts! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the book in it
    or something. I feel that you just can do
    with some percent to pressure the message home a bit, however other than that, that is magnificent blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  11. I have read a few just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how so much effort you put to create this sort of
    great informative website.

  12. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back in the
    foreseeable future. I want to encourage you continue your
    great writing, have a nice weekend!

  13. Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was a entertainment account it.
    Look complicated to more brought agreeable from you! By the way, how could we keep in touch?

  14. Hiya! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme
    or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please
    share. Many thanks!

  15. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.

    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time
    and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like
    this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog
    and I look forward to your new updates.

  16. After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now every time a
    comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.
    There has to be a way you are able to remove me
    from that service? Thanks a lot!

  17. My coder is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.

    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and
    am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it?

    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  18. I do not even understand how I finished up here, however I assumed this submit
    was once great. I don’t recognize who you are however definitely you are going to a well-known blogger if
    you happen to are not already. Cheers!

  19. We are a group of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme
    in our community. Your site provided us with valuable
    info to work on. You have performed a formidable job and our entire
    group can be grateful to you.

  20. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to
    make your point. You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could
    be giving us something enlightening to read?

  21. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Finding the
    time and actual effort to create a good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get
    nearly anything done.

  22. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright
    infringement? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either
    created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any techniques
    to help protect against content from being ripped off?

    I’d truly appreciate it.

  23. Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google while searching for a related subject, your web site got here up, it seems to
    be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog thru Google,
    and located that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate in the event you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will likely be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  24. 526316 236807I discovered your site web site on google and check a couple of your early posts. Preserve inside the top notch operate. I just extra up your Feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking for toward reading far a lot more of your stuff afterwards! 801856

  25. I believe what you wrote was very reasonable. However, consider this, what if you
    added a little information? I ain’t suggesting your content is not good., but suppose you
    added a post title that grabbed folk’s attention? I mean Orabrush: Expansion to Walmart profiled in Ad Age | 2x Partners is a little boring.

    You might look at Yahoo’s front page and watch how they write news
    headlines to grab people to click. You might add a related video or
    a related picture or two to get readers excited about everything’ve
    got to say. In my opinion, it could bring
    your blog a little livelier.

  26. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you
    are a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will
    eventually come back in the future. I want to encourage yourself to continue your
    great writing, have a nice day!

  27. After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment
    is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment.
    Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service?
    Cheers!

  28. Hey there great blog! Does running a blog such as this take a great deal of work?

    I have no understanding of computer programming but I had been hoping to
    start my own blog in the near future. Anyways, should you have any suggestions or tips for
    new blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject nevertheless I simply had to ask.

    Thanks a lot!

  29. I just could not leave your web site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the usual info an individual provide
    to your visitors? Is going to be back regularly in order to
    check up on new posts

  30. You actually make it seem so easy together with your
    presentation however I in finding this topic to be really one
    thing that I feel I might never understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and very huge for me.

    I am having a look ahead in your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!

  31. I believe that is among the most significant information for me.
    And i am glad studying your article. However
    should commentary on some normal issues, The web site style is great, the articles is truly great : D.

    Just right job, cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.