Behind the Work: How Genero helped Burt’s Bees flip the script on oral care advertising.

Featured work • Written by Catherine Graves - Marketing Director, Genero

A truly collaborative ideation and production process led to the creation of a whimsical Burt’s Bees world, with the campaign seeing exceptional results.

The brief.

Despite the popularity of Burt’s Bees range of lip balms and other natural products, awareness of their consciously crafted, sustainably made toothpaste was low. So the brand, in partnership with Carat’s StoryLabs, came to Genero to source a big idea for a digital campaign to help drive awareness of the product, as well as a team who could execute production. 

Balancing the product benefits was key for Burt’s Bees. The spot needed to convince existing naturals consumers, as well as naturals intenders, that their toothpaste is both ‘good for your smile’ and ‘good for the world’. That it delivers all the whitening and cleaning power of regular toothpaste,  with ingredients you can trust and no animal testing.  

First, they needed a big idea.

For this particular brief – we de-coupled the creative and production process. We first put a brief out to our global creative network for ideas that would flip the script on oral care advertising. Todd Magee from Vreeland delivered the chosen idea. 

It was based around a simple concept, that nature is right outside your window – and it’s where the things we put in our bodies should come from. By showing the product coming directly from nature, the spot would indicate that Burt’s Bees toothpaste is the best of what nature has to offer.

Finding the perfect team to execute.

The next step was to source a Production Company with the skills to develop and execute on this idea, and ECD Byron Watkins with his team at Windsong Productions were commissioned through the Genero platform. 

Windsong is a collective of talented storytellers, editors, animators, colorists, directors and producers based in California. They’ve worked on a number of briefs through Genero for brands like L’Oréal, VRBO and the BBC, so we knew they’d nail this brief. 

A new way into production. 

Byron and his team developed the idea into a vision that Burt’s Bees fell in love with – and which also ended up being one of the most labor-intensive, time-consuming, and challenging projects the team has worked on.

The original concept sparked a new way into production for Byron, who evolved the idea to create a bathroom scene which opens a window into a whimsical natural world – emphasising the message that Burt’s Bees toothpaste gives you the best of both worlds.

The production process.

Once the initial script and storyboard were signed off, production designer, Max Martinez, and production assistant, Joe Ellis got to building sets and scenes that would bring the storyboard vision to life, including:

  • Constructing a bathroom set decorated with on brand Burt’s Bees wallpaper
  • Making a medicine cabinet that would act as the portal into the nature setting
  • Scouring the city for out-of-season mint plants
  • Finding a portion of a tree trunk and making it look like it had been burned by lightning to create charcoal
  • And using a snow cone machine to create “snow.”

At the same time, the Windsong production team, lead by partner and head of production, Sara Bourbeau, producer, Joann Mercado Hicks, and production assistant, Carolina De La Torre were finessing every possibly detail one could think of to help round out the pre-production stages: talent, wardrobe, filming schedule and securing enough product for any possible scenario.

Director of Photography, Grant Porter was in charge of filming each toothpaste tube reveal in nature, which took some creative camera work and many late nights, while editor, Marianna Pang, was entrenched in making the scenes, script, and music work in unison. Post-production guru Austin Newell did some heavy lifting, tracking/painting and bringing the visual effects to life, and colorist/motion graphics artist Jeremiah Belt spent hours making a 3D forest and making it all look exactly how the client wanted.

All the while, Burt’s Bees’ Genero client director, Tim Stuart,  was managing the production process between client and creative team to ensure everyone was happy and everything ran smoothly. The Genero platform managed the production process from brief through to delivery, including all communications, payments, time stamped feedback on edits, storage of final assets, release forms and more.

The results

The campaign has delivered exceptional results. A YouTube Brand Lift study measured the results of 9 assets – 3 x 6 sec, 3 x 15 sec and 3 x 30 sec ads – measuring their ability to be memorable (ad recall) and to drive more awareness of Burt’s Bees among the target audience of women aged 18-49. The campaign saw a +10.9% absolute lift in recall, and +3.8% absolute lift for brand awareness – best in class results when compared to the CPG benchmark. 

This campaign is a great example of how creative tech can streamline the production process, while also providing access to creative ideas and talent that a brand wouldn’t have otherwise have been able to source.


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