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Keebler And Other Heritage Brands Turn To Digital For Modern Marketing Campaigns

September 2, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_524289184 Woman hand using smartphone and icon web, Connect to the Internet with smartphone.

Many consumer packaged goods (CPG) are heritage brands that have been around for decades and have gone through numerous brand iterations. And, though many consumers are loyal to heritage brand products, it can be difficult for some heritage brands to resonate with younger consumers and feel relevant in today’s market. 

Over the last several years, during the rise of digital, many heritage CPG brands have transitioned large portions of their marketing spend to digital media, leveraging fun activations, smart social media strategies and data-based personalization to appeal to new shoppers and modernize their brand building and engagement efforts.

Keebler Modernizes Their Image With An All-In Multichannel Digital Campaign

Keebler, a brand known for the chipper elves that make cookies in trees, is leveraging consumers' increased passion for snacking and comfort foods during coronavirus to launch a family-friendly multichannel digital campaign. The campaign aims to capitalize on renewed interest in Keebler, a 167-year old brand, which has seen a 55% lift in cookie sales since early March. The Keebler campaign includes:

  • A change to the packaging that focuses on new, healthier ingredients.
  • A new tagline, “Made with Magic, Loved by Families” that is being used in commercials featuring multicultural families, airing across traditional networks and on streaming service Hulu.
  • Digital ads, digital couponing and in-store displays for retail.
  • A partnership with Walmart producing shoppable ads to air on Hulu.
  • Experimentation with digital tactics, including Instagram Lenses and Giphy Arcade, and deployment of Ernie the Elf’s voice for Pandora activations.

According to Marketing Dive, overall the Keebler brand has “has increased its capital investments 35% in marketing and 41% in shopper programs while tripling its ecommerce marketing investment.”

Heritage Brands Deploy A Variety Of Digital Marketing Tactics To Reach Consumers

Even before the pandemic drove consumers to crave nostalgic snacks and stocked pantries, CPG brands had effectively expanded their digital presences. 

Campbell’s Prioritizes Content Marketing With Recipe Hub

Campbell’s Soup has taken significant steps to modernize their brand and consumer engagement in recent years, as the more than 150-year old company looks to stay relevant with modern shoppers. One of the areas the brand has focused on is content marketing with its recipe hub, Campbell’s Kitchen, which garners 20 million visits a year. By working with an AI personalization engine, the Campbell’s recipe hub is able to offer product and recipe recommendations based on users’ prior searches at Campbell’s Kitchen. The move to machine learning for Campbell’s has “seen the percentage of visitors viewing three or more recipes increase by 34%.” 

Fanta Launches ‘It’s A Thing’ Campaign To Appeal To Younger Consumers

Launched last summer, Fanta’s “It’s a Thing” campaign was designed to bring the 80-year old beverage to younger consumers, using digital videos created around the brand’s four signature flavors. “Today’s world is more layered and more complex than it was a generation ago,” said Tutul Rahman, Fanta Brand Director. “And that means young people are taking more conscious steps to stand out as individuals and express themselves uniquely through their micro-passions. ‘It’s A Thing’ still very much expresses the Fanta voice we know and love, but in a way that feels relevant and true to this generation.” 

Fanta also launched campaigns on Instagram and Snapchat, offering ways for Fanta fans to interact with the brand using hidden “Finsta” accounts on Instagram and AR filters and sticker packs on Snapchat.

Tide Capitalized On A Popular Hashtag And UGC For A Social Campaign

Hashtag campaigns across social media channels can effectively get user buy-in, especially when they leverage fun, relatable ideas, like Tide’s “Laundry Night” campaign last year. Gen Z, one of the more fickle generations when it comes to brand loyalty, prefers the authenticity of user-generated content (UGC) and likes brands that are entertaining. The “Laundry Night” campaign leveraged the popularity of the popular #laundrynight hashtag and debates about the best night to do laundry, with a star-studded multichannel campaign that pitted Sunday night football against Sunday night laundry.

The Tide campaign was intentionally funny, and stars from the NFL and NBC – primarily Peyton Manning and Kenan Thompson – joined in the “argument.” As a result, the Tide “Laundry Night” campaign garnered “50 million impressions, 520,000 social engagements and a 58% share of voice on Sunday nights,” according to Tide.

Heritage Brands Should Bet On Digital For The Future

According to eMarketer, the digital spend for the rest of 2020 will include particular emphasis on display advertising and video, with “$2.2 billion in additional investments” across digital advertising anticipated this year. Heritage brands must always carefully weigh their existing reputations with their attempts to stay fresh and relevant for new and younger consumers. By effectively deploying tactics that straddle their legacy and the digital world, heritage brands can find success.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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