Mucinex cures pre-roll skipping with reverse psychology

Mucinex attracted 16 million views and drove a 250-percent lift in Google search volume with humorous TrueView YouTube video ads that saw the brand?s Mr. Mucus character insisting viewers use the skip button.

The video ad, recognizing that consumers wait to hit the skip button on pre-roll ads, humorously calls this out. The clever approach helped the ad capture viewers? attention, driving views, ad recall and purchase intent. 

?When consumers have an option to skip your ad you need to be even more creative and consider how you'll capture their attention in those first few seconds,? said Shuli Lowy, director of customer success for the Americas at TVTY.

?McCann's creative team did just that,? she said. ?Instead of viewing the skip button as an enemy the agency embraced the button as a tool to drive further engagement for Municex. 

?Understanding the context of how the ad was to be viewed empowered them to build a better creative and leverage the features of the ad format.?

Breaking through
Mucinex, a Reckitt Benckiser brand, was looking for a way to connect with consumers during the short cold and flu season and break through in a crowded marketplace, according to a post on the Think with Google blog. 

The brand settled on Google?s TrueView ads, which give viewers a choice over what they watch. Viewers see five seconds of an ad before or after another video and then have the option to keep watching or skip it. 

While many marketers would prefer video ads to be unskippable, TrueView ads enable marketers to get views from an audience they know is interested and only pay when someone chooses to watch an ad. 


Mucinex ran a 15-second TrueView ad on YouTube during the peak cold and flu season, hoping to reach a large audience throughout the day. 

To reduce the chances of the ad being skipped, Mucinex and its agency McCann used the brand?s Mr. Mucus character, which is already familiar to many consumers from previous campaigns. 

The animated character walks onto the screen carrying a leaf blower, interrupting the voice over and blocking the ad copy. 

?Don?t mind me,? he says. "Just running a very loud and obnoxious leaf blower during this very boring ad. Hit skip. You never watch these. Don?t look at the ridiculously large box behind me.? 

By calling attention to the skip button, the expectation was that viewers would wonder why the brand wanted them to skip the ad and actually watch it. 


Finding an audience
Mucinex also leveraged targeting tools and ongoing optimization to serve the ads to high-performing groups. Leveraging Audience Targeting on YouTube, Mucinex was able to reach parents, a key target group. Affinity audiences such as movie and comedy fans, as well as custom affinity audiences such as shoppers and green-living enthusiasts, had high engagement and view-through rates. 

Google reports that consumers were actively seeking out the ads as well, resulting in a 127 percent lift in search volume for the ads and a 250 percent lift for the brand. 

The results beat the brand?s expectations with a 27.4 percent view-through rate, lower cost-per-views, 67 percent life in ad recall and a 10.4 percent lift in purchase intent. 

?McCann strategically leveraged audience and contextual targeting for this campaign,? Ms. Lowy said. ?Municex would have also benefited from using offline triggers to ensure their ads reached consumers at moments of prime relevancy. 

?Recently we've seen other brands align ads for flu medication with cold weather and allergy medication with high pollen counts,? she said. ?Monitoring these factors on a local level and triggering ads appropriately ensures that consumers view ads when they are most likely to be receptive to these products. 

?No doubt this added level of targeting would have made the Municex campaign even more effective.?