In May 2015, Ancestry launched a new product – DNA testing kits – an non-invasive and accurate way to discover your genetic makeup. Our first-year growth targets were aggressive but successful. Year two, the challenge was to increase sales of DNA kits by 100% YOY – well after the market closed their wallets.
Mature Australians were the perfect audience for this new product; yearning to understand the past and their place in history. When surveyed, 60% said they’re “curious about where they come from.”
However, our barrier was ironically the technological advancement of the product in the first place. It was still so innovative to Mature Australians that many had never heard of it, didn’t trust its accuracy or thought it was invasive and required the use of needles and blood samples .
Mature Australians spent the most amount of time watching TV (36% longer than the average Australian!), but a short, advertising TV commercial wasn’t going to demonstrate the journey one goes through when discovering their genetic makeup. We had stories to tell, and emotions to capture! To understand the type of content our audience would lean into, we turned to research study which hypothesised: We are what we watch but also… We watch what we are.
Specifically, older, maturing Australians who are retired, widowed or with grown children, rely on TV dramas to give them a sense of belonging in the absence of personal relationships. They create relationships with characters on TV when characters from their real-life disappear.
Strategically, we needed to fill that void and deliver characters they could connect with. Characters who were struggling with their own sense of belonging and needed Ancestry DNA results to give them that connection. This would imprint Ancestry and the power of DNA together onto the hearts and minds of Mature Aussies.
At first though, it seemed an impossible task -- no TV program like this existed in Australia and creating a new show with our budgets would have been laughable.
A global content analysis uncovered the perfect series, Long Lost Family, tried and tested in the UK and US and ready for its moment in Australia.
Long Lost Family shares the journeys of real people who, for various reasons, have been separated with a parent, sibling or child over many years and now yearn to reconnect.
We took the bold move of commissioning this content series and negotiated with a primary TV network to run it in prime time
Beyond just sponsorship, Ancestry took the integration to the next level, dedicating trained genealogists and DNA kits to shape the journey and discovery of each character. There were many research road blocks and dead ends that only our records and DNA testing could overcome. It was the ideal format for Ancestry to shine.
One character, Trevor, was himself adopted and had no knowledge whatsoever of his heritage. It was a big question mark in his life but one that he was ready to answer.
Trevor was given a DNA kit and demonstrated on-air the easy, non-invasive process. The nation then held its breath as Trevor found out his results – a European mix with plenty of surprises!
Strategically timed offers placed first-in-break directly after Trevor’s integrations furthered the flood of interested viewers into a search frenzy. To capture the momentum of search traffic during ad-breaks, we built out specific Long Lost Family keywords to be there at the Zero Moment of Truth.
We targeted the Ten catch-up platform during key episode dates with platform takeovers with special sponsorship of Long Lost Family catch-up episodes.