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After rumors of his possible retirement swirling in the media in 2011, Quaker decided to prepare Cap’n Crunch for his big comeback by launching his ship into the digital age. Due to the cereal mascot’s cult status in American pop culture, he is quite popular among adults from Millennials to Baby Boomers, who all have fond memories of him through the decades and reference him often online, especially on Twitter. The brand wanted to find a way to engage with consumers (primarily men) in their 20s and 30s, who often eat the cereal as an afternoon or late-night snack, rather than for breakfast.
The @RealCapnCrunch Twitter account launched in March 2011 but hadn’t gained much traction. Quaker hired Huge in June 2012 to kick the Cap’n’s Twitter account into high gear and create more online conversation around the brand through social media. The brand was also planning to work with Huge to launch an animated late-night talk show hosted by the Cap’n on YouTube, so it was important to build up the Cap’n’s social media presence in advance to support the show once it premiered.
To reach the target demographic of web-savvy young adults, the main strategy was to surprise and delight them by having the Cap’n -- the beloved mascot they have nostalgic feelings for -- speak to them directly through Twitter. The plan was to monitor for mentions of the brand on Twitter and reply in unique, humorous ways that would delight the Cap’n’s fans. In addition, the team identified, followed and targeted influencers -- particularly in the comedy community -- by crafting clever personalized responses to incite retweets and increase the reach of the brand.
Planned tactics included capitalizing on Twitter trending topics and hashtags and make them relevant to the brand. For instance, when #ThreeWordsSheWantsToHear was trending, the Cap’n tweeted, “#ThreeWordsSheWantsToHear: Breakfast in bed.” We incorporated existing relevant visual assets into trending topic tweets, in order to post in real time on a low budget. We also tracked and monitored memes and relevant pop culture trends and tailored the social content to those themes, keeping it relevant and shareable. Additionally, we live-tweeted major events (such as sporting events and award shows) with the relevant hashtags and capitalized real-time marketing opportunities.
The greatest success thus far was a real-time marketing opportunity when the team was able to capitalize on another viral meme. In June 2013, a user posted an image on Reddit pointing out that although U.S. Navy captains have four stripes on their uniforms, Cap’n Crunch only has three and therefore was not a real captain. As this news spread through Reddit, the blogosphere and social media, the Cap’n’s Twitter team jumped on the opportunity to get involved, responding to fans and foes alike with clever tweets defending his good name that again caught the attention of both the Twittersphere and the mainstream media on a mind-blowing scale. The campaign culminated with a video response to officially put all rumors to rest.
Due to the team’s creativity, nimbleness and keen eye for online memes and trends, @RealCapnCrunch has had several successes over the previous year that contributed to the account’s overall growth. During SXSW in March 2013 when the Cap’n visited Austin, the initiative generated over 1,000 tweets, 200 Twitter and Instagram photos, and generated about 3 million impressions across social.
The Cap’n’s viral uniform controversy has undoubtedly been the greatest success to date, causing an international social media firestorm. In just 18 days after the Reddit post went up, @RealCapnCrunch gained more than 2,500 followers. His most popular response tweet, which was featured in several international media outlets, received 558 retweets and 210 favorites. In total, the controversy garnered more than 2,750 new followers and over 170 million social impressions.
Since Huge began working on the account in July 2012, @RealCapnCrunch’s Twitter following more than tripled, from 5,100 to more than 31,200. Monthly retweets increased by over 400% and monthly favorites grew by 450%. Between August 2012 and June 2013, the overall reach of the brand on Twitter nearly doubled, growing from 79.1 million per month to 170 million in June. Much of the growth has been purely organic, the result of great social media strategy and execution, as well as compelling content creation and nimble activation.
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Twitter handle: http://www.twitter.com/realcapncrunch
/>His most popular response tweet: https://twitter.com/RealCapnCrunch/status/345628353564389376
Uniform controversy post on Reddit: http://imgur.com/Oa0cFQR
The Cap’n’s uniform controversy response video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqMFV-QbxSE
The Cap’n’s most popular uniform controversy response tweet: https://twitter.com/RealCapnCrunch/status/345628353564389376
Cap’n Crunch Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/capncrunch
/>Jimmy Fallon coverage of the Cap’n’s response video: http://downloads.hugeinc.com/share.php?q=afc0645fca9afc22356a56d052f49a46
GMA coverage of the Cap’n’s response video: http://downloads.hugeinc.com/share.php?q=afc0645fca9afc22356a56d052f49a46
Colbert video: http://downloads.hugeinc.com/share.php?q=eb4e0d7e31c96a81f1afd175554a397d