Pepto Leverages Social to Benefit Underfed for Thanksgiving

peptoPepto-Bismol purchased Twitter’s Promoted Trend on Wednesday to help donate meals to the underprivileged before Thanksgiving Day, underscoring how social media networks are becoming the nerve centers for cause marketing efforts.

Stephanie Waugh, Pepto brand manager, told ClickZ News yesterday afternoon that the Promoted Trend was performing beyond expectations. “Our engagement rate is 17.7 percent,” she said, “which is well above Twitter’s average [of] 3 to 6 percent engagement around the Promoted Trend.”

Twitter’s engagement rate refers to clicks, favorites, retweets and “@Replies.”

According to Twitter, the Promoted Trend costs $120,000 per day as a global ad buy. When asked if philanthropic marketers have to pay the same, P&G spokesperson Elizabeth Ming said, “Twitter and P&G have a really close relationship…And because P&G does so much work with them, that helps us out a little bit.”

For Pepto’s effort, it partnered with nonprofit Feed America. Their Promoted Trend ad copy was “#HelpPeptoFeedAmerica”, while click-throughs saw the following pitch: RT this & we’ll donate 8 Thanksgiving meals (up to 100K). We want everyone to be covered. #HelpPeptoFeedAmerica.

Viewers who clicked the shortened link landed on a dedicated Facebook page. The effort, dubbed “Feast for All,” used actor Eric Stonestreet, who stars in ABC comedy “Modern Family.” For the next week, each Facebook user who “likes” an image of the roly-poly Stonestreet with a Thanksgiving turkey donates eight meals to the goodwill measure.

Waugh said, “When you look at how people are engaging with both Facebook and Twitter, we are trying to make that as easy as possible. Realistically, we want everyone to be able to take a small step and engage with Pepto and this cause. We didn’t want to get in the way with a lot of permission questions or…asking for name and demographics.”

Pepto is pledging up to two million meals via Facebook, with another 100,000 for the Twitter part of the campaign. In addition to the aforementioned Promoted Trend, the media plan includes Facebook ads, Google keywords, and – on Thanksgiving Day – site takeover promos on Yahoo and Mapquest.

“We really wanted to approach this moment when so many people are overindulging,” Waugh said, “and also be able to do more for those who don’t have the chance to.”

New Generation Expects Goodwill Brands

Cause marketing efforts like Pepto’s and Pepsi’s “Refresh Everything” campaign have been gaining steam for several years. But there is an accelerating shift towards Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare as centerpieces for such initiatives.

Kate Atwood is executive director of the Arby’s Foundation, the charitable arm for the national quick-serve chain. Atwood explained to ClickZ News that cause marketing is partway through a changing of the guard.

“What you really have today is the new generation, the Millennials to Gen Xers, thinking, ‘I expect that. I want to see your brand is doing good,'” she said. “I think the trend you’ve seen with cause marketing moving towards social media totally mirrors the new consumer, which is obviously a huge part of our population. Social media allows us to get that consumer into the pipeline.”

For the last two weeks, Arby’s has purchased Promoted Tweets on Twitter for the term “foursquare”. It’s part of another hunger relief campaign running through November, in which the restaurant brand will donate $1 for every Foursquare check-in at its locations nationwide.

The Sandy Springs, GA-based chain has partnered with Share Our Strength, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit focused on ending child/adolescent hunger in the U.S. “No Kid Hungry” is the organization’s motto.

Here’s the Promoted Tweet copy they’ve been running: Check-in on @foursquare at any @Arbys location in #November & $1 will be donated to the @ShareStrength #NoKidHungry Campaign!

And Arby’s social media team has been consistently replying to Foursquare check-ins coming through the Twitter newsfeed, while adding short comments like: “@consumerX” Nice check-in! You helped raise money for @ShareStrength #NoKidHungry Campaign! Thanks!”

Arby’s Facebook page includes a hot-linked button for a co-branded microsite where people can donate to the cause.

“We are using the Arby’s Twitter following and Facebook fan base for the foundation,” Atwood said. “We’re excited with what we are seeing so far.”

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