Million people reached on YouTube


More Message Recall


Ad Recall


Of people in the Dutch market reached


After a couple of challenging years, HEMA – a well-known Dutch variety store chain – wanted to attract attention during the holidays with its biggest campaign in years.

However, massive advertising on flow TV is expensive, and possibly not the most effective use of the media budget. Still, flow TV is important for HEMA, even with the challenges of rising prices and declining return on investment (ROI) and reach. 


To catch the eye of the public, HEMA created a commercial starring HEMA’s cherished mascot, Takkie. The commercial really conveyed the Christmas spirit, and was a very welcome celebration of normality after two long years of Covid.

HEMA then opted for a cross-media strategy with the focus not mainly on offline media, but also on YouTube. This was HEMA’s first time running a large Christmas campaign on YouTube, and obviously, there were justified doubts about YouTube's impact. Would a 50-second commercial even be watched? After all, videos that can be skipped make less impact than a flow TV commercial on a large screen. To investigate this, two experiments were set up:

  • The first experiment investigated the effect on Awareness when YouTube was added to the media mix
  • The second tested the effect on different devices on YouTube


As expected, YouTube enabled additional reach. Of the total 5.2 million people reached on YouTube, 1 million were incremental compared to Television. GfK research also showed that message recall increased by 37% with advertising deployed on both YouTube and Television. YouTube not only provided extra reach, it also created more impact.

In the second experiment, the hypothesis was that users on smaller devices would pay too little attention to a long commercial to make sufficient impact. To test this, an a/b-test was set up with a 50/50 split between CTV vs. all devices.

This showed that advertising on CTV indeed led to a significant increase in ad recall (+12%). This while there was no effect on other devices. In addition, the exposed positive response rate was much higher on CTV than on all devices (52% vs. 42%). Even though the commercial was very long and less suitable for YouTube, impact could still be made on CTV.

By adding YouTube to the media mix, HEMA was able to reach no less than 97% of Dutch people. And, equally important, make a huge impression with its heartwarming Christmas message.