If you want to talk with teens about your product in this media environment, the first thing you learn is that maybe YOU shouldn’t be doing the talking.
“We would rather put our brands in their hands than talk to them,” says Lauren Fleischer, senior associate brand manager at Mondelez and part of the Sour Patch brand team. The candy designed to befuddle adult tastebuds is also making some brave end runs around traditional media approaches by literally putting their brand into the hands of consumers and key influencers on emerging social and messaging channels.
For Valentine’s Day, Sour Patch partnered with Wattpad, an app-based community of readers and writers who share their crafted stories and fan fiction. The “Sour then Sweet” campaign invited Wattpad writers to submit their own “sour then sweet” love story, but they recruited some of the app’s top writers to kick it off. Readers would pick the top ten stories submitted. Not only does the winner get recognized on the network but the story will be turned into an animated short.
While the campaign was native to Wattpad’s core content, Sour Patch also used both Instagram and Snapchat influencers to drive awareness.
For Fleischer, this is another in a series of campaigns where the brand took the risk of giving control to its own consumers. “We are recognizing their media habits and adapting our plans to stay ahead of the curve. They look at Internet celebrities and influencer as their celebrities. We are not only willing but comfortable putting the brand in influencers’ hands.”
In most of these cases the influencers are briefed and given very few constraints to ensure the brand isn’t put into an uncomfortable light. The whole idea is for them to leverage the creativity that is already resonating with their fan base.
One of the most successful recent instances of this was Sour Patch recruiting Vine celeb Logan Paul to create video for the launch of Sour Patch’s Snapchat presence. It was a 5-day shoot in New York, and wherever major choices needed to be made, Paul made the call, she says. “That allows us to be more credible with teens. “We know [the influencers] have a really credible voice with them.”
While they are using unorthodox platforms and approaches, Fleischer says the results are clear. “We have been floored by the reach and engagement,” she says. The Snapchat campaign had millions of impressions. It’s really encouraging and suggests we should keep building out that strategy.”