Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

How Food Brands are harvesting success from trending topics

In case studies, Social media on December 6, 2013 at 11:11 pm

The Tweets are alive, echoing trends from everywhere…

Social listening is key to growing any social media following. One common recommendation to a start up or organization with their eyes set on exponential growth is to focus on trending topics, use current hashtags and join common conversations.  I’ll shout out the obvious, worn out examples: Oreo, College Game Day, Stores jumping in with sales and responses ala natural disasters (ex: Urban Outfitter’s  Sandy Sale via Business Insider)

Many would recommend this to a start up or in growth of social media, when done correctly, small businesses can capitalize on trends in their community, sponsors can utilize buzz from their partnering sports teams or concerts/events. But is it possible for a brand to go too far? To try too hard to jump into a conversation or force their content into relevancy?

So many monumental events happened on Twitter this week that trended in the U.S., internationally, etc. Things like #CyberMonday, #RIPPaulWalker (Pause while I cry) #RIPNelsonMandela, #HobbitPremiere, #SoundofMusic, #WorldCup probably sound familiar no matter where you are reading this from. And I’m assuming that was the reasoning behind DiGiorno’s cheesy Sound of Music Remarks.

See LA Times recap for more context.

Also see AdWeek’s praise of the coverage.


It paid off too,they trended in Austin and spent most of today retweeting articles and praise for their efforts. The post social media action of recapping and responding was almost as important as the choice to tune in in the first place. Well Played, DiGiorno’s.

My first look at this was YIKES TRYING TOO HARD. Which led me to examine, what is too hard? How do you measure success? I think a verdict on if this was proper content or not comes down to what the goals are. With a brand like DiGiorno, I’m assuming the goals of social media are to increase awareness and eventually sell pizzas.

While it does seem a littleeeeee forced, I think no harm was done. They showed themselves to be aware of trends, relevant, and willing to have a little fun.

If their goals were to appear fun and raise awareness, then they can call this successful. More serious brands could not risk it, and different success metrics would not deem it so.

An honorable mention also has to go to Moe’s for one of the most epic, subtle Lord of the Rings References:

They didn’t hashtag Hobbits or Hobbit Premiere, but to us Ringers, this casual shoutout to our next week’s main event did not go unappreciated.

Moe’s and DiGiorno’s display different approaches and different goals of utilizing trending topics. DiGiorno’s hashtagged a lot, getting the recognition and joining the conversation. Moe’s was on the other end of the spectrum. I’m sure they didn’t cash in on direct clicks of people searching for and talking about the Hobbit, but it was a loyalty builder for those already invested. Sort of, if it should happen to fall on the right ears, it works. Otherwise, it’s a timely piece of content creation.

I’m sure we will continue to see brands cash in on trending topics and jump in on convos, they would be foolish not too. But how much is too much? and is there a risk involved with being overkill?


UPDATE: The morning after I published this, SpaghettiO’s may have illustrated what too far looks like with their attempt to join/commemorate Pearl Harbor: