Goals-oriented content: a new marketing platform worth its weight

Salt XC turns memorable moments into content, commerce and first-party data
To launch the Xbox Series X, a four-storey gaming console replica was floated in Toronto harbour, displaying an edge-to-edge LED screen showcasing local artists' work inspired by the ‘Power Your Dreams’ launch theme.

To launch the Xbox Series X, a four-storey gaming console replica was floated in Toronto harbour, displaying an edge to-edge LED screen showcasing local artists’ work inspired by the ‘Power Your Dreams’ launch theme.

Salt. Anyone who has read Mark Kurlansky’s informative 2002 book of the same name knows that Roman soldiers accepted it as payment, trade routes were built around it, and wars were fought over it. With attributes like that, why not name an agency after it?

Salt XC is a hybrid marketing and tech agency based in Toronto and Chicago that opened its doors in January 2020. Its key value proposition is an approach called Experiential Commerce. “You know the saying ‘I know half of my marketing budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half’?”, asks Salt VP Jil Lohnes. “That is partly what inspired us to form this company. We want to make sure that everything we do has a valuable transaction as its outcome. Every project here has a quantifiable goal.”

Salt’s output is built on three key components: customer data, memorable moments and digital connections. Salt Studios, the internal content strategy and production team at Salt XC is a key ingredient supporting the company’s overall philosophy. “We are living in a platform era,” says Devon Soltendieck, Head of Salt Studios, “platforms and algorithms now dictate our strategies and we can measure the strength of a connection between our partners and their consumers.”

Labatt’s internal agency draftLine leveraged Media Mob to produce content for Stella Artois’ Stellar Dishes, a multi-platform series featuring well known chefs showcasing how to make their best known recipes at home, as well Instagram and YouTube content for the launch of Mike’s Hard Blue Freeze.

Labatt’s internal agency draftLine leveraged Media Mob to produce content for Stella Artois’ Stellar Dishes, a multi platform series featuring chefs showcasing their best known recipes at home, as well Instagram and YouTube content for the launch of Mike’s Hard Blue Freeze.

Part of what makes Salt Studios so unique is a technology product called Media Mob, a marketplace of vetted freelancers where partners can brief, contract and manage a database of A+ creatives in as little as 24 hours. It gives brands access to a turnkey studio without overhead.

As an example of how it works, when COVID hit a year ago and Kraft Heinz wanted to shoot a TVC in Montreal, despite provincial border closures, Salt assembled a Media Mob team there within 24 hours and directed the 30-second spot entirely over Zoom. The ad was created, shot, edited and on air in three weeks from initial inception.

In response to COVID-19, Salt worked with the RBC Training Ground team to move previously live program qualifier events to a digital submission system. Part of this solution involved producing five fitness videos featuring RBC Olympians.

In response to COVID-19, Salt worked with the RBC Training Ground team to move previously live program qualifier events to a digital submission system. Part of this solution involved producing five fitness videos featuring RBC Olympians.

Both Kraft Heinz and Labatt are now using Media Mob to provide in-house teams with a rapid content solution; and beyond solving client production needs, Salt’s long-term plan is to open this resource up to the industry.

At its core, Media Mob was created to deliver better quality content for less. As part of the launch for the Microsoft Xbox Series X | S, Salt Studios and Media Mob created 87 pieces of content across nine platforms in 72 hours. The production studio in this case was a real-world set. Used to both capture content and project it, Salt created two four-storey consoles and placed them in natural locations – one on the edge of Washington State’s Columbia River Gorge and another floating on a barge in the Toronto harbour.

Salt activated Kraft Heinz’s Pantry Day campaign across 1,200 grocery stores nationwide, which included naming, logo and brand guidelines, campaign strategy, communication roll-out, TV spots, social and digital assets, and employee engagement.

Salt activated Kraft Heinz’s Pantry Day campaign across 1,200 grocery stores nationwide, which included naming, logo and brand guidelines, campaign strategy, communication roll-out, TV spots, social and digital assets, and employee engagement.

To support Kraft Heinz Pantry Day, Canada’s largest single day donation-matching food drive, Salt built a full 360° program activated across 1,200 grocery stores nationwide. Salt was responsible for naming, logo and brand guidelines, campaign strategy, timing and communication roll-out. Salt Studio’s led the production of the campaigns TV spots, social and digital assets. The result was a $4 million food donation to Food Banks Canada.

The overall campaign drove consumption up 30% over the prior year, and Pantry Day displays saw a +26.7% consumption lift at stores that executed with the programs POS tools versus stores that didn’t.

For the Grammys, Salt created a 90-second TV spot for RBC's music initiative celebrating musicians and their achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was produced in-house with support from Media Mob creatives across Canada.

For the Grammys, Salt created a 90-second TV spot for RBC’s music initiative celebrating musicians and their achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was produced in-house with support from Media Mob creatives across Canada.

RBC has been a client from the start. Recently it tapped into Salt Studios and Media Mob to create a 90-second TVC for the Grammys broadcast, as well as youth-focused social content for the RBC Snapchat Discover Series. Salt led creative on the spot, which celebrates musicians and their achievements during COVID, and produced it in-house with support from Media Mob creatives across Canada.

For the Snapchat series, Salt Studios advised on platform strategy and key performance metrics, while producing a platform-specific format built on content completely shot on mobile devices. It resulted in 7.8 million impressions and an 806K view through rate with the key demo.

Content has become more ubiquitous and even more fragmented. For clients like Microsoft, RBC and Kraft Heinz, it might include anything from a TikTok series, to experiential or shopper marketing. Or all of that. Salt’s focus on understanding how to efficiently create across all these platforms – and get results – is proving effective for its goal of becoming an indispensable partner.

CONTACT:
Jil Lohnes
Vice President
JL@ilovesalt.com