Niche Advertising/Audience Targeting


Brands Replace Live Experiential Activations With Virtual Social Engagement

August 21, 2020 Melissa Ledesma

The effects of the global pandemic have put a hold on nearly all experiential in-person brand activations. To remain relevant and maintain connections with their target audiences, brands have pivoted budgets away from in-person activations and are focusing on connecting with consumers through social media. 

Among adult internet users in the U.S., 32% have increased the amount of time they spend on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during the pandemic. And, social media use in 2020 is up across all age segments, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers with U.S. adults spending at least 82 minutes per day on social media.

By leveraging social media during a time of social distancing and quarantines, brands like Dunkin’, Mountain Dew and Stella Artois are creatively capitalizing on opportunities to connect with consumers where they are spending their time.  

Dunkin’ Hits Refresh on Summer Plans With An RV Giveaway

Dunkin RV getaway

Instead of collecting air miles this summer, many consumers viewed road trips as safer and more controllable ways to enjoy time away from home. In fact, RV rentals in July surged to 16 times their average seasonal rates in some regions of the country as consumers across the U.S. raced to secure socially distant summer activities. Dunkin’ Vice president of Brand Stewardship Drayton Martin, in response to the RV trend, said, “People who have had their vacation plans cancelled are looking for ways to break out of their familiar four walls and hit the reset button.” 

With pay-ahead mobile ordering via its branded app and drive-thru service available at many of their brick-and-mortar stores, Dunkin’ is strongly positioned to serve consumers enjoying RV road trips. So, to promote its newest menu item line - Dunkin’ Refreshers - Dunkin’ recently held a social media sweepstakes on Instagram, posting, “We’re offering you and your quaranteam a chance for an RV road trip experience, so you can still get the most out of your summer.” Dunkin’ asked consumers to describe the vacations they had to cancel this year on Instagram Stories, tag @Dunkin and use the hashtag #DunkinRefreshSweepstakes. The sweepstakes winner received access to an exclusive, Dunkin’-branded RV, free for one week and complete with gift cards for Dunkin’ Refreshers on the road and a Keurig equipped with Dunkin’ K-cups to fuel the journey. 

Mountain Dew Is Encouraging Consumers To Enjoy The Great Outdoors

As 2020 pivots consumer interest to favor outdoor activities, Mountain Dew is running a UGC campaign to encourage consumers to get out and reclaim the outdoors. Prior to launching the new social media UGC contest, Mountain Dew surveyed its customers and discovered that its core audience was yearning for outdoor activities like motorsports, hiking, fishing and biking. Influenced by their insightful first-party data, Mountain Dew was inspired to promote an opportunity for consumers to experience epic adventures safely during the global pandemic, asking consumers to send in photos and videos depicting how they are claiming the outdoors. 

mountain dew claim the outdoors

To enter the Mountain Dew contest, consumers must complete a form at, then post content using #ClaimtheOutdoors via their social media profiles across various platforms. Chauncey Hamlett, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for PepsiCo Beverages North America, said, “By creating incredible prizing based on our consumer habits, we're getting right to their passion points to celebrate a fun, exciting and safe way to return to the outdoor experiences we value most.” Contest prizes include a new 2021 Ford Bronco, a private Grand Canyon hiking experience for two, tickets to a private race against professional driver Chase Elliott and a socially distant fishing excursion with professional bass angler Gerald Swindle. 

Over the last decade, Mountain Dew has honed its brand to connect with high-energy action sports and outdoor activity enthusiasts, becoming synonymous with action, adventure and bold fearlessness. Mountain Dew’s UGC campaign is an excellent example of how brands can identify evolving behaviors of their core audiences and provide them with content that fits today’s lifestyles.

Stella Artois Brings The Opulence And Splendor Of A Luxury Hotel Stay Home

With summer travel on hold for many, the idea of relaxing in a luxury hotel feels miles away. Stella Artois is bringing the decadence of a five-star hotel stay inside with its latest social media rendition of a hospitality-inspired activation. The Stella campaign is comfy, cozy and quarantine-friendly, and from now through September 2, Stella Artois is offering sporadic reservation openings for the exclusive Hotel Artois, which is actually a contactless home delivery of swanky hotel amenities. Consumers are encouraged to tweet #HotelArtois to @StellaArtois to get notified when the elusive “bookings portal” opens for limited-time reservations.

In a statement to MarketingDive, brand representatives for Stella Artois said, "With the Hotel Artois At Home, we hope to inspire people with ways to escape to a daydreamy state of mind from the cool comfort of their own homes with some epic treats courtesy of Stella." The Stella campaign reminds consumers that, even during a pandemic, there are opportunities to “savour the summer.” 

Social Media Activations Can Help Brands Maintain Connections During COVID-19

Social media contests, sweepstakes and UGC activations provide brands the opportunity to create memorable experiences for consumers without in-person interaction. But, in addition to publicizing promotions, social media campaigns can help brands learn more about their core audiences. By combining first-party data with information gained from social media interactions and social listening, brands can develop audience segments centered on prospects most likely to convert. 

The recent social campaigns launched by Dunkin’, Mountain Dew and Stella Artois are prime examples of brands promoting experiences based on evolving needs. The sentiments of connectedness and relatability can help brands engage with consumers while in-person experiential activations remain on hold. 

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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