In 2013, after an 8-month absence from the marketplace, Hostess Brands was resurrected. But before products hit shelves, we needed to whet consumer appetites. We needed to tell people to “get ready” for The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.
Three weeks before Twinkies and CupCakes hit shelves we asked consumers to stretch their mouths and contort their faces to get ready for the return of Twinkies and CupCakes. They would simply share a Vine (or Instagram) video with the #cakeface hashtag and our aggregator tool would then sort and display the consumer-generated social content on PrepareYourCakeFace.com.
An audit of social media sentiment showed that the brand’s demise 8 months earlier had brought out latent brand connections among millennials. Great! They wanted us and we needed them.
We also knew that this millennial target wanted to find, originate and create around brands. They do not want to be given the marketing message. At least they don’t want to feel that they’re being given that message. We had to take the brand to them and present it in a whole new way.
On social media, we asked consumers to take Vine (or Instagram) videos of themselves “preparing their cakefaces.” Thousands obliged, stretching their mouths in unique and interesting ways, and then posting the content with the #cakeface hashtag. These videos were aggregated and displayed on PrepareYourCakeFace.com, which also featured a countdown to launch day.
The social media engine was fed by street teams who fanned out across the nation to seed the #cakeface hashtag. They posted unbranded signs. They stamped hands. They handed out t-shirts. They even conducted “mouth yoga” exercises in the middle of Times Square and other high-traffic areas.
After 3 weeks, the countdown clock on the site struck zero. And Americans had prepared their cakefaces in unison. This shared experience was a key component to a comeback campaign that set record sales for the company. Year over year, Twinkie sales increased by 185% and CupCake sales increased by 53%.
- #cakeface trended nationally on Vine.
- PrepareYourCakeFace.com became one of the first branded sites to incorporate the Instagram video API. Introduced just four days earlier, the video feature was added to the site just in time for our June 24 launch.
- Average user time on the site was over four minutes.
- The campaign generated 64.9MM Twitter impressions.
- Excitement peaked on launch day, with #Twinkies trending nationally on Twitter.
Matt Bowne, Creative Director
Ryan Glendening, Digital Creative Director
Brian Brooker, Executive Creative Director
Mark Schuh, Director of Technology
JD Hillen, Interactive Developer
Mike Berlin, Technical Architect
Matt Whitehead, Interactive Developer
Pamela Sandler, SVP/Digital Experience Director
Jessica Wiggins, Social Media Strategist
Nolan Greiter, Social Media Analyst