Clorox Is Leaning Into Influencer Marketing and In-House Creative to Better Connect With Consumers

Using partnerships with stars like Hannah Hart and Stephen Curry

Hannah Hart stars in a video made in partnership with Glad. Clorox
Headshot of Diana Pearl

With the half-year mark rapidly approaching, the Clorox Company’s marketing team is zeroing in on two major focuses for the rest of the year: influencer marketing and in-house content creation.

Clorox’s brands, which include Pine-Sol, Glad, and of course, Clorox itself, have been partnering more and more with influencers, a move Magnus Jonsson, Clorox’s vice president of brand engagement, said is all about creating a human connection between consumer and brand.

“We still live in a world where people trust people,” he said. “There’s certain things we can talk about and convey about ourselves but there are other things that need to be validated by the people that consumers fundamentally trust.”

Some of their latest partnerships? There’s the video from YouTube creator and chef Hannah Hart, Glad and agency Portal A where Hart made a burrito while hanging in an upside down kitchen. Not only was the five-minute video amusing, it also gave Glad a chance to show off its products: The bowls of food, wrapped in Glad Press’n Seal, kept their contents inside, even in their upside down position.

“We were able to bring a product superiority to life in a very light-hearted, fun, engaging and also very festive way,” Jonsson said of Hart’s video.

A team up between YouTube star Inanna Sarkis and Pine-Sol shows her dancing with a sponge in hand (complete with a team of backup dancers) as she cleans her house for a surprise guest. The concept behind the video is called “My Clean Move,” which came to life from the thought that people like to listen to music while they clean. The video, which was published just over a month ago, already has over 3 million views on Sarkis’s channel, and now Clorox is capitalizing on that success by putting paid ad dollars behind it as well.

“The results have been really favorable for us,” Jonsson said. “This was an authentic way to bring our content to life through Inanna.”

He added that Clorox always plans to put paid ad dollars behind one of their partnerships, but oftentimes, they wait to see how a video or campaign first plays out to an influencer’s built-in audience before promoting it.

“We always plan for success,” he said. “But it is a very expected way for us to test how engaging and interesting the content is to the community and to the audience before we have to make a more significant financial investment.”

Clorox also partners with influencers who were traditional celebrities first, like Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who has nearly 21 million followers. Fifty percent of their influencer marketing budget is allocated towards these sort of influencers, who are known for something outside of social media, like an acting or athletic career.

The reason, Jonsson said, that they take up a bigger portion of the budget is that celebrities simply cost more to work with. The other half of their budget is allocated between traditional influencers, like Hart or Sarkis, and subject matter experts, like doctors or makeup artists.

Jonsson said that choosing what sort of influencer to partner with all comes down to messaging.

“It all depends on the brand and the message you want to see,” he said. “We try to take a strategic approach in selecting the influencers you want to work with. In the case of Hannah, her tonality when she talks to her audience is the right tonality for the Glad brand. She also has expertise in an area—cooking—that is linked to Glad as well.”

Clorox hasn’t only invested in influencers when it comes to their marketing spend, but also their in-house creative agency, Electro Creative Workshop (named after Clorox’s original company name, ElectroAlkaline). Launched three months ago, its purpose is to produce content on a tight turnaround.

“We are in a world where the amount of content we need to produce is just growing so rapidly,” Jonsson said.  “We need to be able to have the ability to create a lot of that content that needs to be published in a very timely manner in house.”

Both of these investments showcase Clorox’s desire to push their marketing into the future. As Jonsson said: “Emerging trends are really tomorrow’s capabilities. The capabilities that we are good at managing today are going to be insufficient in order to succeed in the future.”

“We need to continue to be on the forefront of the technology of moving, that we build up the capability and train on our marketers on how to use that.”

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.