‘The most significant investment for us this year’: Why Merrell footwear is dedicating half of its ad spend to digital video

watching tv

Active footwear company Merrell is taking a bigger step into the connected television space. The brand is planning to spend more on video spots across streaming devices this year to better reach its target audience and boost brand awareness.

More than half of the 41-year-old brand’s ad dollars will go toward CTV efforts this year, up from the 5% spent last year, according to Jane Smith, senior director of digital marketing at Merrell, who did not provide exact figures.

“It’s the most significant investment for us this year,” she said, adding that the company has spent more ad dollars on upper funnel, brand awareness tactics over the last year. Like many companies, it’s a move to keep in front of shoppers as they spend more time in streaming content and in other digital spaces. 

Currently, Merrell has three campaigns, running across streaming platforms, such as Roku, Pluto TV, Sling TV, DirectTV and Hulu, including a campaign targeting women shoppers.

In addition to the growing audience, CTV’s targeting and measurement capabilities have allowed Merrell to report on a granular level, “down to which minute was it shown on what platform and where they went in their customer journey afterwards,” Smith said. The better targeting and measurement capabilities led the brand to want to spend more on CTV this year.

CTV efforts started last spring with a small budget before steadily ramping up each quarter to reach half of Merrell’s ad spend. Every month, the brand will have something running on CTV throughout the remainder of the year, per Smith.

“It was a dip our toe in the water [experiment] to sell the rest of the organization [on the benefit of CTV],” Smith said. “This is a really important space for us to push budget.” 

With the recent CTV investment, Smith reports Merrell has seen double digit year-over-year growth on the brand site for two shoe styles featured in the CTV campaign creative. (Merrell did not respond to a request for more details in time for publication.)

Last year, Merrell spent more than $2.8 million on media, up from the $2.4 million spent in 2020, according to Kantar. Those figures do not include social spend as Kantar does not track those numbers.  

Merrell is not alone in increasing its investment in CTV. Recently advertisers, including Dr Teal’s, Adore Me and Vivid Seats, have looked to leverage streaming and digital video to beef up and diversify their media mix. As of last year, CTV was counted among the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising, according to eMarketer. CTV investments in the US were expected to reach $13.41 billion and double by the end of its forecast period in 2025.

And as technology advances the media channel’s targeting capabilities, it’ll be an increasingly valuable addition to today’s media strategy, according to Phil Lewicki, media supervisor at Dagger ad agency. 

“Marketers’ ability to reach a particular audience like outdoor enthusiasts or people consuming a certain type of programming is much better than with a traditional television buy,” Lewicki said in an email. He added that CTV and OTT partnered with social and online video strategy can help boost overall brand and product awareness.

And for Merrell, it’s an opportunity to introduce new customers to products by serving up ads in spaces and channels that are relevant, he said. 

Per Smith and the Merrell marketing team, streaming ads are a game-changer and an investment the brand will continue to make as long as it proves effective. 

“We’re still testing out there, always testing,” Smith said. “But for us and many, it’s just important to… really throw your hand and kind of dig into some certain spaces to try and test.”


More in Marketing

The header image features an illustration with a dollar bill that has the Snapchat logo in the center.

Snap eyes growth as TikTok faces uncertain future in the U.S. 

TikTok’s uncertain future in the U.S. could be a win for Snap, especially as the TikTok ban calls into question the billions of dollars currently driving the short-form video app’s ad business. 

Research Briefing: Despite challenges, marketers plan to increase programmatic spending in 2024

In this edition of the Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine the challenges marketers are facing within the programmatic ad market, what publishers are saying about diversifying revenue streams and how YouTube refined its pitch ahead of last week’s upfront event, as seen in recent data from Digiday+ Research.