Sure, you can send a get-well card to a sick friend. And, yes, you could bring soup. But what if you could send both at the same time? When Heinz and We Are Social asked this question,
the result was Heinz’s uk-only “Get Well” effort on Facebook.
Heinz and We Are Social had built a following for Heinz on Facebook through promotions such as rewarding fans with the opportunity to purchase limited edition and exclusive products such as balsamic ketchup (yeah, must be a British thing), and wanted to continue its momentum. Fortuitously (or not, depending on your point of view), cold and flu season reared its head. Loads of sick people meant loads of people sending those sick people wishes to get well soon.
The app allowed friends to send each other actual cans of soup with personalized messages printed on them to friends through Facebook (also utilizing, of course, the oldest of social networks: the postal system — or, as our uk friends call it, “the mails”). Heinz views Facebook as a unique opportunity to reward fans and brand loyalists with things that will appeal to them, rather than strictly as another outlet with which to sell soup and ketchup, though seamless ecommerce integration was vital to the campaign’s success.
The “Get Well” cans were available through the Facebook app throughout the month of October, and initially promoted only through Facebook. Initial teases went out to fans via the brand page; then paid Facebook ads drove further engagement. Toward the end of the month Heinz also ran an ad in The Sun heightening awareness of the effort.
Over the period in which the “Get Well” cans were offered (for about the same price as a greeting card, mind you) the number of Heinz Facebook followers doubled to more than 32,000 and the “Get Well” tab was viewed 72,835 times, with more than 40,000 in-app interactions. In the end, 2,127 personalized cans of Heinz Cream of Tomato and Chicken Noodle soup were sent, with reactions on ordering and receiving “Get Well Soup” cans spiraling out in real time across the social Web.
“It wasn’t a revenue-driving activity, but more of a creative campaign to engage with consumers,” says Nigel Dickie, director of corporate and government affairs for Heinz uk & Ireland, of the “Get Well” effort on Facebook. “We view Facebook as a tool where we can reward our most loyal fans as well as receive feedback and ideas. It’s ideal for building excitement and for fostering brand advocacy.” By offering truly exclusive items via Facebook to the people most likely to be excited about them, the brand has utilized the viral nature of Facebook to create legitimate grassroots buzz.