AMEC Awards WinnerCategory: Best Use of Communication Management: Business-to-Consumer
Client/Entering Company: GSK
Campaign title: Aquafresh Kids
Company Name: Gorkana


The Tooth FairyGSK is the UK’s largest healthcare company, with a 150-year heritage of developing a broad range of science-led medicines, vaccines and brands. GSK’s Consumer Healthcare business is differentiated by the company’s scientific heritage. The brands, including its toothpastes, are loved and trusted but in developed markets, such as the UK, the toothpaste market is mature and saturated. In recent years, brand owners have pursued innovation strategies to differentiate and achieve growth, the outcome being that the oral healthcare market has become heavily segmented, with brands developing products for sensitivity, polishing, whitening and enamel regeneration.

In September 2012, GSK launched a PR push behind its children’s toothpaste range – Aquafresh Kids. This three-stage campaign was designed to educate, engage and develop relationships with parents. The communications team at GSK wanted to understand the outcome of its PR campaign for the new Aquafresh Kids brand, specifically identifying the impact the campaign had on the sale of Aquafresh Kids products. Gorkana was briefed to provide an analysis which would yield a viable data set for the econometric model, thereby delivering a true reflection of the return on investment delivered by PR.


The development of the analysis began with an in-depth briefing on the PR plans for the Aquafresh campaign. This included understanding and defining the target audiences for the campaign which included mothers of young children.

GSK ran the campaign across three phases and each was designed to drive either awareness or behavioural changes:

  • A survey enabled a news story to raise awareness about the incidence of tooth decay among children, and the frustrations of parents trying to encourage children to brush their teeth properly. The news story was backed up by crowd-sourced tips from parents on, an online forum, about how to help children have more fun brushing, which was in turn used to generate video content
  • A second tranche of research looked at the increasing price paid by the tooth fairy for milk teeth, “tooth fairy inflation.” the press release was again backed up with
    materials to generate conversations with bloggers, in this case customisable tooth fairy calling cards
  • And, finally, a musicologist worked with a dentist to identify songs that provided the perfect rhythm and formula for tooth-brushing and suggested a shortlist of songs

Gorkana presented the ideal strategy to fulfil this requirement by providing an analysis of content generated by the campaign and presenting weekly data points for the econometric model.

The final stage in effectively integrating PR activity with the rest of the marketing mix required breaking down internal barriers, with Gorkana, the communications team and the GSK data insight team meeting to discuss the various data outputs which could be provided. Crucially, the data provided by Gorkana had to work effectively with the data representing the other marketing disciplines.


Testing Phase
Gorkana analysed all content around PR activities for Aquafresh Kids. We produced multiple weekly data sets to allow the GSK data insight team to test and choose the most representative feed of data for PR.

Gross Rating Points (GRPs)
The viability of the data within the existing econometric model was important – but making the data comparable with the other marketing disciplines was crucial. Gorkana provided GRPs, which were already representing advertising within the model, allowing the insight team to successfully integrate the PR data into the mix.

Gorkana used primary research (sample: 10,000 UK adults) to model the following target audiences:

– All UK adults
– Mothers with young children (under 12 years old)

The research, which combined lifestyle attributes and media consumption habits, was used to understand whether content had been effective in reaching UK mothers. Gorkana’s ability to generate GRPs to specific audiences, based on PR generated content, was fundamental to the communications team being able to prove ROI through the existing model.

GSK communications team and Gorkana has allowed PR to speak the language of wider business

The content generated by the GSK campaign was mapped to the survey answers, establishing the percentage of each audience exposed to Aquafresh Kids coverage (“reach”) and the average number of times each person was exposed to coverage (“frequency”). GRPs were then calculated by multiplying reach x frequency per week, giving an illustrative data set: The three spikes across the four-month period directly reflected the three stage implementation of the programme. The first phase of awareness building generated the highest GRPs.

Cost per GRP

As well as allowing the data insight team to integrate PR and generate a true ROI for PR activity, GRPs also facilitated direct cost comparisons. The need for the communications team to align their language of success with the rest of marketing could be satisfied. The UK communications team used a secondary metric to the econometric model outcome: cost per GRP to UK mothers. The PR spend for the programme for the 13-week period covering the first two stages was £60,000 making the cost per GRP to UK mothers £335, compared with £449 for all UK adults, demonstrating effective and resourceful targeting of activity. These numbers also compared favourably to paid activity.


The PR team successfully integrated with the rest of the marketing mix. The econometric model proved that PR accounted for nearly 3 percent of sales for the Aquafresh Kids during the campaign, meaning that for every £1 spent almost £4 was generated in incremental sales. This was a significantly higher ROI than was demonstrated in the model for the other marketing activities during the same time period.
This was a huge breakthrough for the communications team as they had never before been able to make a definitive claim about the impact of their activities on the bottom line.

As a result of the success of this model, subsequent data sets have been commissioned to feed into the wider global econometric programme for other brands. GSK say that further analysis of other campaigns in other countries will help them understand the synergies between PR, and paid media and promotions, and whether PR activities drive sales for GSK’s brands only, or for the whole category. This will ultimately help them make more informed investment decisions in the future.

The work by the GSK communications team and Gorkana has allowed PR to speak the language of wider business and should be held up as an example of truly integrated marketing communications measurement.

Name of contact: Paul Hender
Telephone: + 44 (0) 207 674 0200

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