#RoyalBaby is the biggest advertunity since the Super Bowl, and companies on both sides of the pond are trying to get a glow via social media, the quick and easy alternative to advertising.
No doubt because of the awww factor, picture posts on Facebook garnered the most shares, according to Unmetric. Brands didn't have to spend big bucks for a successful news jack, either, Unmetric found. As of Wednesday, Betty Crocker's photo of a layer cake with blue candies -- and a quickly PhotoShopped crown --led with 2,429 shares. Hostess set tongue in cheek to position the rebirth of Twinkies alongside the royal baby hype, with what looked like a home-made snapshot of its own snuggle cake.
Brands didn't even need a tie-in. Xfinity made actual news, being among the first to announce #RoyalBaby George's gender and garnering 40,262 likes, Unmetric says. Xfinity also provided a link to its live CNN coverage in England.
Everything is a tie-in for Lango, whose business model is to release emoticons known as emoji that are based on social trends and gossip, unleashed four royals-themed versions including the Queen Mother holding a happy #RoyalBaby, and Prince Charles holding a squaller.
#RoyalBaby mania knows no borders. NetBase found 2,559,865 total tweets referring to the royal birth from 8 am on July 23 through 6 pm. July 24. Only 35 percent of those tweets came from the UK, with another 33 percent coming from the US. One shocking bit of data was that only 67 percent of those 2.5 million mentions were positive. Are there royal-baby haters out there? For real?
Even #RoyalBaby maniacs need some downtime, evidently. George was born on a Tuesday and Viralheat's analysis found that, during the week before the birth, social mentions of both Kate Middleton and #RoyalBaby were at their height on the Friday before, with more than 10,787 mentions for Kate and 20,539 for the baby-to-be. By Sunday, mentions were down to 5,010 for her and 10,715 for him. Then, when everyone went back to work, social chatter blew up, with 65,495 mentions for her and 95,513 for the new baby.
Whether the social media frenzy led to any kind of brand activation is hard to determine, but one indicator says no. First, Kontera looked at online consumption, a metric referring to when someone opens and reads a post mentioning a brand, posts something or shares content about a brand. Kontera compared seven brands that tweeted #RoyalBaby with seven that did not (although those brands were active in other social media). Charmin was the big winner with its twitpic. While other brands went waaay cute, the TP-maker extended its slightly transgressive "Enjoy the go" campaign with a picture of a gold-plated baby potty and the legend, "Get the throne ready!"
It worked. Charmin's consumption (of social media, not toilet paper) on the day of the first royal poop was up 240 percent (while rival Cottonelle's was down 50 percent). Cottonelle does Tweet, but it mostly stuck to its, um, business, merely mentioning on delivery day, "We think Kate and William should name the #royalbaby #Cottonelle. Just sayin’."
#Fail. Just sayin.
None of the other brands Kontera looked at, however, saw an increase in consumption; some of them even saw a drop, possibly because of all the competition from #RoyalBaby.
Maybe brands should stop trying to milk this thing. After all, that's the baby's job.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
March 19, 2014