Candy Brand Gets ‘Sweet’ Likes on Facebook

formpageThe Topps Company – an 82-year-old brand that started out as a bubble gum marketer but became more well-known for baseball cards – last month introduced a new candy product called “Sweet Tweets” on Facebook. It picked up more than 12,600 “likes” in 10 hours.

“It’s the first brand that we have launched in the social media space,” said Anthony Trani, senior new products marketing manager for Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of the New York-based Topps. “Our success with this effort is providing a nice blueprint in using social media going forward.”

It only makes sense that his team finally dipped its toes in social media marketing with a product that’s name was at least partially inspired by one of the space’s bigger platforms – Twitter. “The fact that there are little notes that you write…yeah, it’s a little tongue-in-cheek,” Trani said.

To produce the aforementioned “likes” on March 28, his team members in the prior weeks worked with the Allston, MA-based online marketing agency Overdrive Interactive. They developed an app that was a lynchpin to the “Send A Tweet to your Sweet” campaign, which incorporated the increasingly common like-gating tactic.

As Trani briefly alluded to, Sweet Tweets combine a piece of the new hard and fruity candy with a personalized message. People who “liked” Sweet Tweets’ Facebook page could mail the product to friends or loved ones for free. The app produced a form field (see image above) that asked for information about the recipients’ address. “We are only using [the addresses] for the mailing, then they will be destroyed,” he said. “In the event people were sending them to kids, we don’t want to hold onto that kind of information.”

To drive viewers to the Facebook app, the marketing team purchased $400 worth of ads on the social site. The promos targeted moms between 25 and 45 years of age. “The usage occasion we are focusing on is lunchbox notes,” Trani explained.

Sixty percent of the new “likes,” he said, were representative of the target demographic. Such moms could send more than one Sweet Tweet if they wished, and many did.

“In just under 10 hours, we ran through the campaign’s Sweet Tweet allotment, which was 20,000 [units],” Trani said. “When we went live at 11 a.m., we had 70 ‘likes.’ By 9 p.m., we had 12,645.”

sweettweetspicTrani said Facebook ads helped spur the candy-notes-for-“likes” offer getting picked up by freebie blog sites. “And those resulted in a lot of the initial traffic,” he said. “After people filled out the form, the app enabled them to share on their Facebook wall that they just sent a Sweet Tweet. So we had viral and earned media in a mix of different traffic sources.”


But Is Like-Gating a Good Strategy?

Trani also addressed the Facebook advertising debate about whether luring “likes” was a healthy long-term strategy. Trani said his brand lost between 100 and 200 “likes” in the two weeks after the campaign. Facebook users can “unlike” a brand by clicking a button on the lower left-hand side of a company’s page on the social site.

“I think you are inherently going to attract some people who just want to get something for free,” he said. “You are going to get people who are going to disengage after they get what they want. But what we really liked is what we saw in the days following the campaign. People were posting, ‘This is a great idea. Where can I buy them?’ And our social media team then directed them to our online store.”

Trani suggested that the earned media from “likers” sharing stories in their Facebook newsfeed was one of the key payoffs to an effort that cost around $20,400.

“People are making wall posts about things like they had purchased a three-pack of Sweet Tweets for $2.97, and how they appreciated the free shipping,” he said. “I think having people voluntarily engage with your brand is extremely valuable because they want to be a part of what you have to say.”

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