Tag Archives: CPG

Father’s Day Twitter Campaigns: Bacon, Fish, Knives and Grills

This past week, several brands who take care to maintain their man-friendly images took to Twitter with some engaging campaigns relating to meat, its grilling, its hunting (and the clothes needed for the hunting), and of course the clothes in which to stylishly perform the meat hunting.

Oscar Mayer‘s #SayitWithBacon campaign, a play on saccharine jewelry commercials (i.e. #SayitWithDiamondRing) , suggests that “when words aren’t enough,” you give your loved one a box of Oscar Mayer bacon strips. But it’s not only bacon dad gets – there are three unique gift packages offering a special non-bacon-gift within: “The Commander”, which comprises a stainless-steel money-clip engraved with the words “Bring’ it Home”; there’s “The Matador”, which is a set of bacon-strip cufflinks; and “The Woodsman”, which includes a 12-function multi-tool with, you guessed it, a bacon strip carved into the handle.

All packages arrive as a velvet box containing a pack of Oscar Mayer bacon, with special gift enclosed. 360i, the firm that pushed Oreo into the social media fray, is to thank for the brand consciousness becoming one with the bacon-frenzy consciousness.

Sears Grilling is Happiness

Sears‘ long-running #GrillingisHappiness campaign asks Twitter followers to submit stories and participate in a live Twitter party to share Father’s Day plans, and show off each other’s best grilling practices via live chat. Not only is #GrillingisHappiness the retailer’s social media campaign, it’s also a full-fledged online community of grilling specialists and professionals (according to Sears), where visitors can learn new techniques on the art of grilling – as well as other tricks of the outdoor entertainment trade. Recent blog entries on www.grillingishappiness.com have been Father’s Day related, so you know Sears is serious about this holiday.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, as part of their #GreatestGift Twitter campaign, is flying a lucky father and his child of choice (limited to one child per father) to one of five destinations to spend some quality bonding time together either fishing, golfing, hunting, watching baseball, or riding off-road vehicles. Other than making sure their dads are up for these potentially strenuous adventures, contestants should follow the prompts here in order to win. The trip choices are broken up into activity categories: “Baseball” (a trip to the 2013 World Series), “Fishing” (in Alaska), “Golf” (tour of the Golf Channel studios and a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach), “Hunting” (South Dakota’s Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge and $500 of hunting apparel), and “Outdoor” (Colorado’s Gateway Canyons).

NRA Dont Tread On Me Twitter Campaign

The NRA (National Rifle Association) is giving away a knife, a hat, and a “shooting vest” for Father’s Day – as well as a “Don’t Tread on Me” package – all part of their #NRAgiveaway campaign. They’ve had little positive engagement with followers so far, and, as in the case of the Tweet I’m embedding here, the campaign is generating some negative feedback, too.

Mr Porter's Net-A-Porter‘s men’s style destination Mr. Porter, opened up a competition to its followers on Instagram, prompting contestants to post a photo of their “sartorially smart father” and mention @MrPorter and #DapperDad. The winner receives an Aesop Grooming Kit, and subsequent bragging rights over all of his friends’ unkempt fathers. Unfortunately the competition has already ended, but you can always play the #WristGame at Men’s Health, which has the potential to create a photographic encyclopedia of people’s wrist fashion (finally).

Oral-B released an only-on-YouTube video, as part of their #PowerofDad Twitter campaign, compiling a chronology of touching moments between fathers and children, beginning with scenes of dads and babies and ending with a dad giving away his daughter at the altar (not the sacrificial kind, though). Apart from this very sweet online-only ad, Oral-B has been fervently engaging followers on Twitter over the past week, encouraging them to participate in the #powerofdad hashtag by speaking highly of their fathers on Twitter and mentioning #powerofdad. From an engagement perspective, it was easily one of the most successful Father’s Day campaigns on Twitter this year, telling some of us, perhaps, that one of the strongest memories we have of our fathers is the one where he first yells at us to brush our teeth.

Which of these campaigns is your favorite? And how will you be celebrating Father’s Day?

Campbell’s #SlowKettle Twitter Party Trends With The Pope

Campbells Slow Kettle SoupsHave you heard of a Twitter party?  Major CPG brands – including Campbell’s Soups and Duracell – have started to embrace this new Twitter marketing concept as a way to grow engagement and maximize their brand’s exposure on the platform.

What exactly is a Twitter party? According to the NYC-based influencer activation company Social Media Link, it is “an hour-long moderated chat on Twitter based on a specific theme, brand or product. Each party has a unique branded hashtag to unite the conversation and prizes are given away at random to party participants – helping to generate conversation, engagement and excitement around the brand.”

While many brands are still unaware of the relatively new marketing concept (popularity has been increasing over the past year), a recent Campbell’s Soup Twitter party, using #slowkettle, rivaled breaking news about the new Pope as a national trending topic on the social platform.

The Campbell’s Twitter party was scheduled for March 13th to promote the brand’s Slow Kettle® Style Soups, using #slowkettle to spark tweets from Campbell’s fans.  Fans were eager to participate, with 1,000 people tweeting the hashtag and hoping to win one of numerous party prizes.

Trending Topic #SlowKettleThe party soon made an appearance in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter, and then remained in the top 5 trending topics for a full hour.  That’s a fairly impressive statistic on its own; however, it turned out that the #slowkettle Twitter party took place at the same time as the announcement of the new Pope, accompanied by a slew of trending hashtags including #HabemusPapam, #whitesmoke and #newpope.

How was #slowkettle able to maintain its place in the top 5 trending topics despite this serious competition? The pope is, after all, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.  The answer lies in Social Media Link’s 300K member influencer platform, Smiley360.com, with members across the U.S. — many of whom “are tech & mobile-savvy Midwest moms.”  The effort generated 4,100 tweets, and at one point even reached the #3 trending hashtag in US Trends.

Twitter parties are set up by consulting with the brand to create a theme, prizes and party questions to guide the conversation.  The questions were designed to “spark conversation” and create a “party-like” atmosphere, encouraging people to tweet with personal stories and experiences as well as feedback on the brand/product. According to Jordan Herrmann, Marketing Director at Social Media Link, “The high engagement and volume of tweets was driven by many of the party questions asked to attendees, as well as the brand loyalty to Campbell’s Soup.”



For example, participants in the #slowkettle Twitter party were asked a mix of open questions (favorite activity to warm up in the winter months?) and brand-specific questions (which ingredients were favorites in Campbell’s soups?). To further encourage engagement, prizes were given away at random to those who answered the questions.

These parties have “the potential to generate thousands of tweets with millions of impressions in a very short amount of time.”  In this case, Social Media Link believes it was a combination of the enthusiasm of Campbell’s fans and “the power of the Smiley[360] community of socially-active influencers” that led to success and the trending hashtag.

On average, Twitter parties run by Social Media Link’s influencer program generate:

  • 4,740 tweets
  • 440,000+ reach
  • 4.5MM impressions

Other examples of this type of marketing include Duracell’s #WhatPowersYou Twitter party, which trended #1 nationwide and generated 3,800 Tweets during the party, and Pompeian’s #PompeianParty Twitter Party which generated 6,300 tweets and was the #6 trending hashtag in the US during the party.

Would a Twitter party – or social influencer platform – work for your brand?  If yes, would the higher engagement be reason to shift money away from TV and display ad budgets into social media advertising?

6 Tips for Realtime Marketing From A #SXSW Pop-Up Panel

6 Tips For Realtime Marketing From A #SXSW Pop-Up Panel

On Sunday, Expion, a social media management company, hosted a pop-up panel titled The Power of Microcontent and Marketing in the Moment. The panel offered a behind-the-scenes look at Oreo’s realtime marketing success, in addition to an entertaining and fiery debate.

Storified by Tonia Ries· Sun, Mar 10 2013 16:09:48

Panel Moderator: David Teicher, Associate Editor at AdAge
– Mondelez International – Bonin Bough, VP Global Media and Consumer Engagement
– Oreo (a Mondelez International brand) – Steve Doan, Senior Associate Brand Manager
– Expion – Albert Chou, Chief Innovation Officer
– 360i – David Berkowitz, VP, Emerging Media
– VaynerMedia – Gary Vaynerchuk, Co-founder
Tip #1: Get the right tools. (And the right cookie wine pairing!)
Deets on @Expion’s #SXSW Kick-off Party and #SXSWrtm Pop-Up Panel w/ @Oreo @garyvee @dberkowitz + more: http://expi.co/0YaYZena Weist
Flow—> Integrate —> Find —> Influence —> Relevancy —> Alert —> Frame —> Engage. The steps of real-time marketing at #sxswrtmNick Vivion
It is unreasonable to have your team read every tweet all the time. Your monitoring system has to find relevant bits and alert you. #sxswRTMJessica Best
@garyvee says a Chenin from Loire Valley well compliments @Oreo #sxswrtm #bonappetitLaura Bellinger
Tip #2: Brands need a newsroom, humor — and they need to be human.
.@garyvee says its not actually about being a newsroom. It’s about brands providing value, acting like humans and bringing humor. #sxswrtmSabrina Caluori
New buzzword alert! "Newsroom Marketing" the consolidation of social, content, brand to make owned media as valuable as earned. #sxswrtmJohn Johansen
Tip #3: You need to look at the entire media ecosystem to understand the real value of realtime marketing.
the real change: not just about the tweet, but how did the tweet augment the ad spend. must measure overall eco-system @boughb #sxswrtmTonia Ries
How does the tweet augment the TV ad? How does the ad augment the TV ad? #SXSW #sxswbromley #sxswRTMMary D. Padilla
Everyone singles out the @Oreo tweet, but it’s ab how all of the communications work together #sxswRTM #integratedcampaigns #sxswKT Wall
The things that social is being asked to justify in ROI no other media is. Ludicrous 2 expect one billboard or one ad to ROI. #SXSWrtm #sxswCharo HenriquezScaia
The panel for #sxswRTM is interesting to watch… BIG personalities on ONE stage. http://pic.twitter.com/WckB90WOJ5Leyla Arsan
Tip #4: Strategy and preparation are key.
@oreo was nimble and fast enough to react to the black out but their strategy was to tweet about the 1/2 time show #superbowl #sxswrtmLucy Kemmitz
#Oreo had always focused on moms, but #socialmedia allowed them to engage #millennials. #SXSW #sxswbromley #sxswRTMMary D. Padilla
.@garyvee, @boughb, and @Aerocles with Oreo, Expion, and 360i talking real-time at #sxswrtm http://pic.twitter.com/mvtaL64WBxAlly Burton
It’s not just what you are doing for the Super Bowl. It’s what you’re doing every day. "It’s religion" – @garyvee #sxswrtm #sxswrtmTonia Ries
What are the cultural moments that are going to happen, and how do you prepare to participate in that conversation? #sxswrtmS. Schierholz
#Oreo #SuperBowl success was Culmination of 100 days of #DailyTwist campaign: http://therealtimereport.com/2012/09/27/oreos-dailytwist-campaign-serves-up-realtime-creative/ #SXSWrtm via @tonia_riesRobin Hassan
Have to agree with @garyvee, being prepared for RTM at Christmas is 101, being ready everyday is 201 (or higher). #sxswrtmJohn Johansen
How to kill it w/ real time marketing: 1) is it on brand? 2) is the message simple? 3) are you set up? Speed is the key. #sxswrtm @oreoLucy Kemmitz
You have to remember to stay on brand and keep it simple – if it’s not relevant to your brand, it won’t work #sxswRTM #RTM #sxswKT Wall
Tip #5: The right content — in the right context, and on the right platform. 
Not just brands acting like humans, BEING human! @sabrinacaluori @garyvee #sxswrtmRobyn Lewis
Need to talk about native aspects of each platform. Context for each is different. @garyvee #sxswrtmTonia Ries
Throwaway content is valuable as a success baseline. Test content, find right approach & use your community to amplify- @garyvee #sxswrtmAmanda Altschuler
Let’s talk about real-time marketing in venues other than Twitter. Who’s doing it smart? #sxswRTMDebra Aho Williamson
you have to get organization to build muscle memory so they are ready for the big realtime moments when they happen – @boughb #sxswrtmTonia Ries
Social platforms are different. You have to understand the context of why users are consuming content there. Via @garyvee #sxswrtmJohn Johansen
A pic works differently on @Pinterest vs. @twitter – keep in mind the context of why ppl are on that platform when creating content #sxswRTMKT Wall
We’re always focused on who won. But brands are moving the needle every day. It’s not just the big win. – @garyvee #sxswrtmTonia Ries
Tip #6: Align your metrics with your business goals.
How do you raise that overall engagement number? That’s the important metric. Listening tools (@Expion cited as example) #SXSWrtm #sxswCharo HenriquezScaia
Michelin figured out how to use content to drive tire sales 100 years ago. @garyvee #sxswrtmTonia Ries
“@madamebelle: @garyvee dunking @oreo at #sxswrtm http://vine.co/v/bwpBrUb3Yqa” awesome :)Robin Hassan
Mobile is at forefront of #rltm marketing because it can augment other media & is relevant in realtime. #sxswrtmTonia Ries
.@garyvee got more tweets by doing a q&a w 200 people vs a keynote for 4000. Extra effort engages more. Equity on effort #sxswrtmTonia Ries
Oreo’s Daily Twist [social media activities] have driven 10% of Oreo SALES in the past 12 months @boughb #sxswrtm <- ROI. This worksSimon Kemp

How Campbell’s Go Targets Millennials On Facebook, Tumblr, Spotify, BuzzFeed And Mobile Games

Campbell's Go Facebook pageCampbell’s Soups is reaching out to millennials with a “whimsical, humorous personality” on social media to promote a new line of microwaveable soup products, called Campbell’s Go.  The campaigns reaches across multiple social platforms, including Facebook, Tumblr, BuzzFeed, Spotify and mobile gaming.

On Facebook, Campbell’s has given a distinct “voice” to each of the six Campbell’s Go soup flavors,   The Facebook page “follows a sitcom-esque style and features humorous daily posts and shared content,” Nelson Warley, senior brand manager of Campbell North America, told ClickZ.  The page, just launched in October, already has over 110,000 fans.

Other social media efforts for Campbell’s Go include:

  • Tumblr: Campbell’s Go has its own Tumblr page, which features similar content to the Facebook page.
  • BuzzFeed: the soup brand has teamed up with social news site BuzzFeed, creating funny posts that are designed to promote sharing – examples include “17 Animals Who Were Totally Prepared for Halloween,” “10 Famous Landmarks and Their Greatest Facsimiles,” and “10 DIY Tips for Camping Without Leaving Home” (ClickZ)  Campbell’s Go is also sponsoring BuzzFeed’s Nom Nom Feed, so posts tagged with Nom Nom appear with a branded tab – “Presented by Campbell’s Go Soups.”
  • Spotify: Campbell’s Go flavors are the inspiration behind a new set of playlists on digital music service Spotify, with one playlist for each of the six flavors. When a user listens to one of these songs on Spotify, he/she receives a coupon for Campbell’s Go and gains access to the full playlist.
  • Angry Birds: Campbell’s Go is also a launch sponsor for Angry Birds Star Wars (of Rovio Entertainment), and fans on the to-go soup’s Facebook page will have access to character reveals and game-playing tips.

The soups – meant for younger, always ‘on the go’ consumers – come in microwaveable packaging in six “bold” flavors: Coconut Curry with Chicken and Shiitake Mushrooms; Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas; Chicken and Quinoa with Poblano Chilies; Spicy Chorizo and Pulled Chicken with Black Beans; Golden Lentil with Madras Curry; and Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda.

Campbell’s Go is the result of intensive research to understand the Millennial audience, according to Warley.  “We developed a digital marketing campaign aimed at igniting Millennials’ passion points – one being humor,” he told ClickZ.

The campaign will also include interactive banner ads on social sites, as well as digital and mobile couponing efforts.  Even the soup packaging promotes the individual ‘personality’ of each soup, with “whimsical photos and humorous sayings” that match marketing efforts on multiple platforms.

Will humor, social media and a healthy dose of ‘personality’ be enough to get twenty-somethings excited about soup?

At Kellogg’s #tweetshop, Customers Pay For Crisps With Tweets

Kellogg's pop-up store: tweets pay for crispsAn innovative new campaign by Kellogg’s uses tweets as social media currency. Based in a temporary pop-up store in London’s Soho neighborhood, customers were able to “purchase” Special K Cracker Crisps with a tweet.

The concept, according to  AdAge, is “a concrete illustration of the value that Twitter holds in the real world.”

Consumers purchased a bag of crisps simply by sending a tweet in-store that includes #tweetshop.  The response was very positive, AdAge reports.  Customers were tweeting in-store to claim their Crisps, and others were simply tweeting the hashtag to share the “products for tweets” concept.

The pop-up store – open for just four days last week (September 25-28) – was staffed by Special K girls in red dresses, selling Special K Cracker Crisps.  The store also featured a live notice board that displayed #tweetshop tweets in realtime.

[tweet https://twitter.com/KelloggsUK/status/250940048093089793]

Sarah Case, brand manager for Special K, said in a statement, “The value of positive endorsements on social-media sites is beyond compare, so we’re excited to be the first company to literally use social currency instead of financial currency to launch this new product in our bespoke Special K shop.” (AdAge)

Last summer, we covered the world’s first Twitter-activated vending machine in South Africa, where tweeting with the hashtag #tweet4t earned consumers a free BOS ice tea.

Kellogg’s has taken things a step further, labeling the tweets as ‘payment’ and recognizing the power of sharing on social networks as a form of currency in itself.  Do you think using ‘social media currency’ in this way has potential for other product launches?

Cutting The Mustard With The Grey Poupon Facebook Society Of Good Taste

I should have seen it coming. The buzz of ‘Downton Abbey.’ The 76-page Ralph Lauren catalog that arrived last week – Ralph looking most un-cowboy-ish behind the wheel of an Aston Martin, British flag on the door, RL girls posed, now on raked gravel courtyards in impeccable tweeds, now on horseback in black velvet evening dress, the fine saddle leather a dreamy contrast and rhinestone collar providing a certain edge. Restoration Hardware’s tome also arrived, reeking of Manor–upstairs and down, plus adjacent stables.

Then Elizabeth Olson of The New York Times reported that Grey Poupon’s Facebook-based “Society of Good Taste” was about to go exclusive.

“Starting Wednesday, in a new advertising campaign on Facebook, would-be fans can have their profiles checked to see whether their proper use of grammar, taste in art, restaurant check-ins, books read and movies selected combine for a score high enough to merit membership in the Grey Poupon ‘Society of Good Taste.’”

Can Grey Poupon make marketing history by rejecting Facebook fans?From Rolls to DijonGate ’08 to Miracle Whip.

Who of a certain age does not remember the “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” of the original early 1980s television commercial? Or appreciated the later version:  in one Rolls, Ian Richardson, evil Tory politician Francis Urquhart in “House of Cards,” in another “Yes, Prime Minister” actor Paul Eddington in need of mustard. Convincing Americans that a plastic squeeze bottle of Grey Poupon is A-OK was oh so easy: Is that Grey Poupon on your weiner?

A 2004 New Yorker piece (“The Ketchup Conundrum”) tells the great story of how these commercials and print ads created by Lowe Marschalk convinced Americans to switch from bright yellow French’s to the real French Grey Poupon.  Actually, it was by then made in Connecticut with New York State wine, and there was no proof that anyone in the U.K. actually used it to spice up anything whatsoever, but who cared? “By the end of the nineteen-eighties Grey Poupon was the most powerful brand in mustard,” ends the mustard section of the piece, which goes on to tell a sad tale in which one poor bloke seeks and fails to find the Holy Grail – the Grey Poupon of ketchup.

And who can forget DijonGate of 2008, in which then-candidate Barack Obama ordered a burger, politely requesting mustard, and very specifically for “a spicy mustard or something like that, or a Dijon mustard, something like that.” A Grey Poupon fan, I purchased an extra jar as the hay was made with that!

Miracle Whip and Grey Poupon are both Kraft brandsSo the news that this particular mustard brand was emerging from its low profile in the marketing world to defend its market share (a second-place 12.6 percent in a saturated market of mostly oldsters) by rejecting wannabe Facebook fans was intriguing. Adding spice to the news, sister brand Kraft Miracle Whip recently engaged in risky behavior on Twitter and has current TV commercials featuring a dark and tortured village square scene remixing Hawthorn’s The Scarlet Letter (the new red MW replacing the “A”) with a generic Salem witch hunt.

Others were intrigued and jumped on the story. In all the coverage, only the Whopper Sacrifice campaign, also created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the creators of the new Grey Poupon Facebook campaign, is called out as something remotely similar. That campaign challenged fans to dump their Facebook friends for the Whopper.  They did, although Facebook put a swift end to the fun.

The Baroness of Banality. Are You Talk’n to Me?

Confident in both my grammar and my good taste in condiments, I decided to sample the  experience that Grey Poupon was serving up. One week after the campaign began (with an existing fanbase of about 22,000 according to reports), I “Liked” The Society of Good Taste and the application process began.

A charming app, in which I was seated behind a group of judges viewing a screen, scoured my Facebook page. Everything whizzes by – photos were commented on too quickly to take notes, but the judges did seem to like one photo of our chocolate Lab on his surfboard. Fiery political links and comments from like-minded friends appeared as well. A sour observation that I should get “out and about” more often gave me pause, but then it was over.

The Grey Poupon Society of Good Taste Rejects Facebook Fans“The Baron of Banality” (to which I snapped, Baroness to you!) headed the statement: “You’re in the 33rd PERCENTILE” (no period, a word in all caps) above a paragraph, written in faux-Euro/Brit, inviting reapplication after a finishing school course or visit to a museum or “online literary hub.”  (I take my Trotsky solo, thanks).

Stunned. What was it? Why had I failed this test?

“LOL” is reportedly frowned on, and I’ve used that twice. OK, two of three restaurant check-ins were to an establishment known as Liar’s Saloon, but surely… No, it was true.

The Baron of Banality notice and all the gory details had been auto-posted to my Facebook page – and had already been “liked” by one of my exclusive group of 53 friends.

Retaliation (Engagement?) and The Return for More Abuse

I swear it was only to grab a screenshot of the judges oohing at the chocolate Lab on the surfboard that made me decide to reapply the very next day.

Long story short, as soon as the app started, my new computer froze.  I let out a few choice words and waited. Ten seconds later, an acceptance letter — my PERCENTILE had jumped to 68!  How had this happened?

I’ll admit to two things that may have convinced the judges. Immediately after being rejected, I – for the first time mind you – engaged on Facebook with a brand. No way was The Mustard getting away scot free. Not when a large jar of Grey Poupon had been laid in just last week. So, as can be seen above, I had responded to the notice posted by The Society with a comment: I’m All Shook Up! and threw in a video of Elvis singing the same to a crowd of screaming girls for good measure.

And, to demonstrate my good taste, I had also shared a lovely photo of a mountain with my Facebook friends, adding the elegant comment “Oh to be there.” This was heart felt — it is my favorite Colorado mountain — so I felt no shame. A friend’s unsolicited “It’s beautiful” reply doubled the impact.

Other than that, my post-rejection Facebook activity quickly returned to normal as I forgot myself and used “dag rat it” once, and “wing nut” appeared in a reply comment. Another friend’s “Pray that this lead holds until the election” may have been what really clinched membership in The Society on second try.

Critique, Questions and Predictions

(1)   The app itself is fun and well done. My only gripe is that now I’m a member and can’t go back for that screen shot of the judges critiquing my Labrador on his surfboard.

(2)   Will rejected fans return that unopened jar of Dijon?  Or take their rejections in good humour as they reach for the gold?

(3)   The whole point of this campaign is to get young people engaged with America’s faux-French mustard via a centuries-old, secret love affair with all things British. The original wildly successful appeal made advertising history. This Facebook campaign will not live up to the same standards of class. The Rolls are gone. The Prime Minister is gone. Some of the judges (we see only their silhouetted backs) could be the butler and the chambermaid from the shape of the hats. Further, the very first “perk” — already on its way — is a tote bag.

(4)   Something’s up with that algorithm. From the gutter of 33rd percentile to 68 with just a couple of new posts? Hmmm.

A would-be member of the The Grey Poupon "Society of Good Taste" on Facebook(5)   It’s all in good fun. According to reports, The Society of Good Taste started out last Wednesday with an existing fanbase of 22,000 (where they came from we do not know). Today, my fellow Society members number 35,057 (up from 34,810 yesterday). And I’m truly interested to find out whether a certain Peter Holländer will ever be admitted. Yesterday, he politely posted: I LOVE your mustard on a well done McRib, so would you please let me in?

Your turn – and let us know: Do you cut the mustard?

Ben & Jerry’s Throws One Heck Of An Ice Cream Social. Here’s The Recipe.

Most Social Ice Cream? Ben & Jerry's audience across the social media networksAnalytics and reporting firm Simply Measured celebrated National Ice Cream Month in July with a case study: Why Ben & Jerry’s is the Most Social Ice Cream Brand.* Simply Measured observes that “social is a core component” of the ice cream brand’s marketing and that “with a seamless flow between their website and all their social channels, this isn’t just something they ‘have to do.’ It is something they fully embrace and reap many benefits from.”

The report lays out the method behind Ben & Jerry’s engagement with audiences across its social media platforms, leading with more than 4 million fans on Facebook.

The brand’s secret for getting so social?  A huge helping of personality, a serving of attitude and a strategy that’s far more simple than it may first appear.

Celebrating the Product, and the Fans 

Simply Measured highlights one of Ben & Jerry’s basic formulas for driving fan engagement:  the new flavor. A key ingredient? The tantalizing product shot. “Given how ‘tasty’ these look in a Facebook feed, it’s not surprising that the most recent new flavor announcements averaged 23K engagements per post.”

Fans also post their own photos to the website, with a Fan Foto of the week honored on Facebook with comments from the Ben & Jerry’s team such as this one: “Now how many of you just licked your screen?” The result? An average of 300+ engagements each.

Here’s a quick summary of Simply Measured’s more in-depth Ben and Jerry’s Facebook Content Analysis (there’s also a deep-dive Twitter Account Report), showing the level of Facebook engagement with the three simple content types that the marketing team creates on a regular basis. The first, multimedia posts, account for 84% of all Ben & Jerry’s posts — and for 98% of all engagements — according to Simply Measured.

  1. Multimedia posts (photos, video, etc.) — these include the basic new flavor announcements
  2. Status posts — as simple as “We’ll eat you up – we love you so!
  3. Posts with links to content such as a special allergy alert for a specific flavor, the brand’s Fair Trade page, etc.

Ben & Jerry's Facebook Content Summary: Posts and Engagement by Type




Connecting Online to Drive Real World Engagement

That “seamless” flow from website to Facebook or Twitter may end up on the road. One example? The brand’s 2012 Truck Tour, delivering samples of its Greek Frozen Yogurt — Tweet us! We’re on the road giving away our new Greek Frozen Yogurt & might be coming to your neighborhood! explains the Tour’s web site. The fan engagement and excitement is apparent with a quick glance at the truck’s Twitter stream. @PhophetOne tweets: “I sent a tweet to @BenJerrysWest 25 days ago asking them to come to my work. They’ll be here Aug 28th! Probably coincidence but very cool!

[tweet https://twitter.com/copleysqhotel/status/239010130501439488]

Social Ice Cream - Ben & Jerry's Truck Tour 2012

The @BenJerrysTruck tweets often link to Flickr galleries showing the action.

The Ultimate Hub For Fan Engagement: Basecamp BenJerry.com

Ben & Jerry’s fan engagement methods all converge on the brand’s basecamp for the ice cream social: a website that is beautifully designed, with content that is plentiful, relevant and written in real English (“activism,” not “social responsibility” for example).

Here again, there are lots of ways for fans to engage:  Purchase a gift card. Check on the 2013 Global Free Cone Day date. Locate a shop. Locate a shop that caters. Become a VIP taster. Enter a contest. Watch a “Flavor Story” video and post your own. Plan a factory tour.

And the brand’s personality continues to shine through:  Read Ben & Jerry’s mission statement and smile. Read what the brand is up to on the political front: from a straight-shooting “To Those Who Occupy: We Stand with You” statement to links to the company’s recent testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Human Rights, and Civil Rights and details about the Get the Dough Out of Politics campaign.

Ben & Jerry’s social media engagement strategies are as simple and all-natural as its over-the-counter social engagement was when they opened their first store in a former gas station on May 5, 1978.  And that’s a recipe that keeps on working for them.

Tweets for Sweets: Ben & Jerry’s Sampling Program Integrates Social Media

Ben & Jerry's 2012 Truck Tour integrates social mediaBen & Jerry’s has been touring the country with a sampling program since the ’80s, with the original “Cowmobile.”  Now, social media is playing an integral role in the ice cream giant’s latest sampling efforts – on the ‘2012 Truck Tour’ – and boosting ROI.

The old-school method?  Ben & Jerry’s would pick a location and give out free samples to see what customers enjoyed.  At first, incorporating social media simply meant using it to tell customers where the samples were being given out – the effort would usually reach a few thousand people.  Then, the brand began to discover the true power of social media by asking fans to engage on social platforms, especially Twitter.

In the summer of 2010 the sampling program began to evolve, featuring free ice cream delivery in select markets based on social media demand.  Ben & Jerry’s would still tweet their location (cities included were New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles last year), but then playfully asked followers “Who wants ice cream?”

According to Jay Curley, integrated marketing manager at Ben & Jerry’s, flipping their strategy like this “worked so well that by the end of the summer in our New York and Boston programs, 90% of the time we were just taking requests via social media, mostly from Twitter.”  It created a more personalized experience and generated a lot of conversation – by bringing ice cream to an office of 20 people, Ben & Jerry’s reached tweeters in that office, their co-workers, and their several hundred followers and friends.

Ben & Jerry's Sweet Tweets sampling program integrates social media

Curley told MediaPost that “We’re scaling our sampling, so that one sample makes 600 to 700 impressions.”  And because these impressions are social – and coming from friends – they are more meaningful that just finding a random truck offering free Ben & Jerry’s.

The program has become so successful that this year it will expand into four new markets: Washington D.C., Miami, Portland and Seattle. Curley says, “We always knew sampling was good and felt right for our brand, but we could never show an ROI like this.”

While traditionally the sampling program has relied on core flavors, this year it will introduce a new line of flavors based on Greek Frozen Yogurt: Strawberry Shortcake, Raspberry Fudge Chunk, Banana Peanut Butter and Blueberry Vanilla Graham.

Fans can follow @BenJerrysTruck (with over 16,000 followers) on the East Coast, or @BenJerrysWest (with over 7,000 followers) on the West Coast to check the scoop truck’s location. The Twitter bio states “We’re bringing free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream where YOU ask us to!” The scoop truck tour is also prominently featured on the brand’s website.

Curley believes that delivering ice cream to Ben & Jerry’s fans is “really a fantastic way to connect with our fans one-on-one and deliver an experience you can’t get anywhere else.”

Facebook Marketing: How Hershey’s Manages Multiple Brands

How Hersheys Manages Multiple Brands on FacebookHaving the right ‘voice’ is key to establishing an effective and engaging brand presence in social media.  But what about when your corporation needs multiple voices – for distinct products with their own respective fan bases?  Hershey’s provides a great example of this – North America’s largest chocolatier has Facebook pages for many of its brands, including Hershey’s Syrup, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Ranchers, Reese’s and more.

Once fans log onto the Hershey’s Facebook page (with over 3.2 million fans), they can scroll down and find “more fun on Facebook” through links to Facebook pages for Hershey’s Bliss, Hershey’s Syrup, Hershey’s Kiss and Hershey’s Kitchens (“recipes for every occasion”).

Anna Lingeris, public relations manager at Hershey’s, spoke with Ragan.com about how her team engages fans of these multiple brands on social media, after inheriting the company’s Facebook pages from the marketing department.

The main question is: why does Hershey’s keep Facebook pages for each of these individual brands? “Each brand has its own personality,” Lingeris says. “To mash them all into one, you’re doing a disservice, because you’re looking at it from a corporate standpoint rather than a brand standpoint.”

While the classic Hershey’s page has a “genial, friendly tone,” the Reese’s page is more “conversational” and the Kitchens page posts tips for fans and boasts a “resident baking expert” to answer questions right on the Facebook wall.

Once fans are on a Hershey’s page, Lingeris aims to make Facebook “a one-stop shop” for them.  Rather than promoting events that are happening elsewhere, Hershey’s found success with a s’mores photo contest held entirely on Facebook.

How Hersheys Manages Multiple Brands on FacebookBut not everything is individualized for a specific Hershey’s brand on Facebook. “Sometimes content is cross-posted among multiple pages” says Lingeris, including polls, behind-the-scenes videos, photos and more.  The team also looks to other social media, including Twitter and Pinterest, to find content to post on Facebook.

What is the timing for posts? Lingeris and her team post once or twice every day on Hershey’s Facebook accounts, with the philosophy that “more content generates more engagement.” Fans’ questions are answered if the company’s “decision tree” determines that they should receive a response – so there’s a system in place to respond to questions, but it doesn’t guarantee that each post will receive a reply.

Lingeris also stressed the importance of listening to fans, being “aware of what your fans want to hear, what they want to talk about” and recognizing that sometimes “They just want to voice their opinion.”  Which is often perfect for the brand, because fans are happy to share their love of the product.

And when fans do express their love – or their dissatisfaction – respond immediately when appropriate.  When Vinny Martino, a boy with Down syndrome and leukemia, posted on a Facebook page that Hershey’s declined to send the T-shirt he had requested, fans immediately began sharing their disappoinment.  Lingeris’ team was closely monitoring the page and immediately send Martino a package with T-shirts and wrote a response for not sending them in the first place.

Martino posted a picture of himself in the shirts (which he collects), and Hershey’s turned a potential PR flub into a social media success.  “We took something that could quickly escalate into a more negative situation and made it positive,” Lingeris told Ragan.com.

By letting “each personality to shine through” on Facebook, Hershey’s is engaging fans across a wide spectrum of products in a much more intimate way than a broad, all-encompassing “Hershey’s” page would allow.

Blogger Relations #Fail: ConAgra Cooks Up a PR Disaster

ConAgra and Ketchum PR need a lesson in social media and blogger relations: their dinner invitation (pictured) promised a meal cooked by a celebrity chef, but guests were served frozen supermarket food instead.

The invitation promised a dinner "hosted by TLC chef George Duran" for the food blogger and a guest.

ConAgra, along with their agency Ketchum, is the culprit in the latest self-inflicted PR blunder, breaking every basic rule of social media and blogger relations to create a public embarrassment for themselves.  “Bloggers Decry ConAgra’s Bait-And-Switch At Underground Dinner” is the headline from Huffington Post’s coverage of the incident,  in which groups of bloggers were invited to enjoy an intimate dinner cooked by a celebrity chef–only to find out they had been served Marie Callender brand frozen pizza and dessert.

Somehow, the marketer seemed to think that food bloggers, many of whom advocate fresh, organic, healthy eating, would not be able to tell the difference between “frozen muck” and freshly prepared food.  And that, after finding out they’d been duped, they would cheerfully tell their readers about how they fell for the stunt and advise them to go buy processed frozen foods for themselves?

As the backlash intensified, ConAgra cancelled the final event and promised not to use the hidden camera footage from the dinner for promotional purposes.

Making matters worse, Ketchum’s apology for the fiasco is less sorry and more patronizing:   “a high percentage of people…actually appreciated the event,”  Jackie Burton, director of corporate communications at Ketchum told the New York Times. “But we also understand that there were people who were disappointed and we’re sorry — we apologize that they felt that way.”  You’re sorry that they felt that way?

ConAgra learns about social media and blogger relations the hard way after serving food bloggers frozen lasagna instead of a chef-prepared meal.

Instead of a meal freshly-prepared by celebrity chef George Duran, food bloggers were served Marie Callender's frozen lasagna.

If you tell your dinner guests their meal will be cooked by a celebrity chef and then instead serve them a high-sodium, chemical-laden entree and dessert, you have lied to them.  You have also insulted them as food critics by implying that they would not be able to tell the difference between an industrially-cooked frozen meal and a freshly-prepared dinner.  And if you disregard your guests’ explicitly stated preferences for fresh, organic, unprocessed foods to serve them the exact opposite, you are disrespectful and, in the case of the guest with allergies to food coloring, dangerously reckless.

You should do more than apologize to the bloggers you invited for how they feel, you should apologize for lying to them, insulting them and for being disrespectful.  And for embarrassing them in front of the guests they invited along.

But wait, the story gets even worse.  The New York Times called a number of PR experts for comment, including Deborah A. Silverman, who heads the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards at the Public Relations Society of America.  Here’s what she told the reporter:   “Ketchum has an excellent reputation for high ethical standards,” but “the social media realm (including bloggers) is new territory for public relations practitioners, and I view this as a valuable learning opportunity.”

Bold-face emphasis is mine.

If you work with a PR agency, you should immediately ask them whether social media and working with bloggers is new territory for them.  If they hesitate even one second, you need a new PR agency.

And, if the people at Ketchum want to learn about some of the basic tenets of blogger relations, here are some great blog posts written in 2006.

They could also spend some time reading the YouTube comments on this 2008 Pizza Hut commercial, which used a similar bait-and-switch gimmick to introduce its line of pastas.   (“I HATE THESE COMMERCIALS SO MUCH!” is one of the nicer comments.)  These are comments from real potential customers, and they make the food bloggers’ “disappointment” look mild by comparison.

Here’s a press release for you:  all of your customers are now bloggers, with the ability to tell the whole world what they think with just a few taps on their smartphone.  So you’d better start reading up on “blogger relations.”

Then again, if you think I’m setting the bar too high, you can let me know in the comments!

UPDATE:  Bob LeDrew at Translucid Communications has some additional comments from the PRSA in his post on this story:  Social media is “new territory for PR,” sez PRSA. BS, sez me.