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CPG Snack Brands Deploy Social Media Campaigns

February 8, 2021 Erin Sweeney

Many CPG snack brands rely on social media strategies to reach audiences and encourage ecommerce sales. Charitable campaigns, user-generated content (UGC), digital-first optimizations and virtual celebrations all help brands that typically rely on traditional advertising and in-person sales to cultivate attention from consumers spending more time online and relying on ecommerce solutions for their purchases. Digital engagement also facilitates increased brand recognition and affinity, which can lead to a boost in sales.

Lay’s #LaysSmiles Campaign Honors Helpers During COVID-19

Lay’s returned to their “Smiles” campaign in September 2020, a campaign they have been using for five years in different iterations. The most recent evolution featured the smiles of people who have helped their community during the pandemic. The Lay’s “Smiles” campaign hoped to raise $1 million dollars for Operation Smiles, a charity that helps people with cleft conditions afford surgery. The smiles of people who helped others battle homelessness, hunger or lack of medical treatment are featured on the packaging and on social media channels, searchable with the hashtag #layssmiles. Last year more than 71,000 people scanned the QR code on the bags to learn the story of the “smiler” featured, engaging consumers and connecting Lay’s products to heartwarming stories. “Across stores and within households, Lay’s has the power to reach millions of Americans every day. We already know that what’s inside the bag brings joy, but turning the Lay’s bag into a canvas to multiply that happiness factor is what makes the Smiles program so special,” said Sadira Furlow, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America.

#Doritos3DChallenge Deploys UGC Strategy On TikTok

Doritos 3D Crunch, originally released in 1998, is back. In a press release, the company reports that they brought the product back after “years of clamoring on social media, popular petitions and celebrity endorsements.” The advertising for the new Doritos 3D Crunch campaign will run on Doritos’ social channels and will leverage UGC. In addition, Ali Landry, the “Doritos girl” from the original 1998 Super Bowl commercial introducing Doritos 3D Crunch, announced the re-release of the product on her social media channels. The company states that “Doritos believes there’s boldness in everyone,” and the brand is looking for Doritos fans to create videos of themselves popping Doritos 3D Crunch chips into their mouths in “bold ways.” Fans are encouraged to post their pics on TikTok with the #Doritos3DChallenge hashtag. 

#AmplifyBlackVoices Prioritized For PepsiCo Brands’ CSR 

In addition to the Doritos 3D Crunch campaign, Doritos has also featured #amplifyblackvoices on Doritos social media channels and its ecommerce website. “We’ve invested $1 million in resources, a start toward a long-term commitment to the community, and we’re working in partnership with the Black Lives Matter organization in the long-term push for change,” explains the Amplify Black Voices page of the CPG brand’s special 3D Crunch website. Doritos has a track record of “handing over their platform” for customer-created commercials, and for the #amplifyblackvoices campaign, Doritos has given its outdoor advertising spaces, including billboards and mural walls, to Black artists. The campaign is part of a larger set of initiatives from parent company Pepsico. In a message from the CEO of Pepsico, Ramon L. Laguarta, the company announced a “more than $400 million set of initiatives over five years to lift up Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.” By aligning their mission and values with the issues of today, Doritos can build loyalty with like-minded consumers.

Pringles Super Bowl Ad Debuts On Digital Channels First

This year, to encourage consumers to buy their Pringles before the Super Bowl, the brand released its Super Bowl ad early across social media channels. The company built excitement for the ad and its product on Twitter, posting on January 24th, “The only sport that requires more brute and grace than football is stacking Pringles.“ On January 30th, with a preview of the ad, the company posted: “For those of you who don’t want your advertising interrupted by live sports, here’s our Big Game ad.” Although Pringles has run a Super Bowl ad each year since 2017, the airing of the brand’s Super Bowl spot on social media ahead of the game could show a shift to a digital first strategy by the brand.

#CheezItBowl Brings College Football To Fans With Virtual Avatars

In December, snack brand Cheez-It engaged its fans – and fans of college football – with a virtual viewer experience of its sponsored college football game in Orlando, Florida. Fans were not allowed at many college games this year due to the pandemic, so Cheez-It encouraged fans to customize avatars on the Cheez-It website. These “Wheel Live Fans” could be entered into a contest with the winners’ virtual avatars appearing on animatronic “cheese wheels” during the big game. And, based on fan suggestions from Twitter, the virtual avatars could be seen dancing and jumping in the end zone. According to Peter Adam, reporting for Marketing Dive, “The ‘Wheel Live Fans’ activation allows Cheez-It to put its brand front-and-center during the ESPN live broadcast of the 2020 Cheez-It Bowl, while steering people to engage with the animatronics on social media and guide how the ‘Wheel Live Fans’ react to game developments.” In a year when many fans have been shut out of watching their favorite sports due to safety concerns, #CheezItBowl created an interactive experience for fans. This year many brands have effectively turned to virtual experiences to connect with consumers.

CPG Snack Brands Connect With Fans, Driving Ecommerce Sales

Snacking is one way that Americans are finding comfort as the pandemic stretches on. To gain the attention of snackers, Lay’s, Doritos, Pringles and Cheez-It created social media activations that provide experiences through engaging content while showing that these brands are listening to consumers and following new consumer behaviors. 

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About the Author

Erin Sweeney

Erin Sweeney is a freelance writer and professional educator. Throughout her 12 years of experience in secondary education, she has taught advanced composition, business communications and research methodology. Erin has a keen interest in psychology and the science of motivation. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Saint Anselm College and a Master’s in Education from Plymouth State University. Through research and writing, Erin contributes to DMS Insights with informative articles surrounding the digital and performance marketing industries.

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