Engaging Out of the Box

The Company
7 August 2019

The rise of social media opened up a realm of endless possibility for brands looking for new avenues of audience engagement. Today, it takes more than just a Facebook page with sporadic posts to retain attention, and brands are quickly finding ways to stay top of mind. These are a few ways that several global brands have successfully cornered the market.

Relatability no matter how niche

As with many things that the brand does, Lego took to social media like a duck to water. With over four million followers on Instagram and six million subscribers on YouTube, this age-old toy company has stepped into the modern world of social media with style.

Rather than constant product plugs geared towards children, LEGO’s social media presence seamlessly combines their audiences’ love for their building blocks and popular culture. With its endless wealth of big brand collaborations like Marvel, Disney, and Warner Brothers, there is a little bit of everything for everyone. Though some posts centre around the release of new Lego sets and characters, a majority highlight the work that happens behind the scenes when replicating life-sized models of popular movies, games, and books.

A full house: cross-channel marketing

In recent years, Lowe’s came into the spotlight with their creation of a unique social media marketing campaign that combined DIY tips and the then-trending six-second Vine videos. Creating a series of six-second videos with their #fixinsix campaign, Lowe’s caught the attention of a vast number of audiences. Their campaign even earned them a Cannes Lions award in 2014.

Lowe’s success also stems from an array of activity online. Not only did they successfully execute the #fixinsix campaign, but they capitalised on the home improvement niche across several platforms. Sites like Pinterest, Tumblr, and of course Instagram thrive on the realm of how-to. By doing so, they encouraged user-generated content and engagement simultaneously.

Humour on point

Everyone loves a chuckle. Clever and humorous advertising, be it in print or digital form, has always had a place in the hearts of audiences. Brands that learn to embrace humour and not take themselves too seriously often garner more engagement than competitor brands.

Burger King’s brilliant McWhopper Proposal campaign certainly sparked a buzz among its audience. In an effort to contribute to Peace Day 2015, Burger King proposed a ‘ceasefire’ between the Clown and the King. They suggested a collaboration to create a peace-inducing burger comprised of the ‘best bits’ of the Whopper and Big Mac.

Thus, the mythical McWhopper was born.

Burger King’s execution of the campaign was predictably tongue-in-cheek, though seemed to come from a genuine place. The brand suggested a collaboration for a one-day-only sale of the McWhopper. Its proceeds would be 100% donated to the non-profit organisation Peace One Day. They even managed to rope in Peace One Day’s founder Jeremy Gilley to be part of their campaign video. The collaboration looked like the perfect way for these de facto rivals to converge. And for a good cause, no less.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Burger King backlash Makes McDonald’s the clown

For many reasons, the McWhopper never did see the light of day. One of the main reasons was McDonald’s reaction to the campaign proposal itself. CEO Steve Easterbrook slammed the campaign, accusing Burger King of comparing its “friendly business competition” to the “real pain and suffering of war”. Easterbrook continued to suggest that they focus instead on collaborating on a “meaningful global effort”.

The backlash that came was monumental — and directed towards McDonald’s.

Burger King’s execution of the campaign wasn’t foolproof by any stretch of the imagination. However, due to McDonald’s unwillingness to play the good sport for a good cause, most of the negativity became focused on them.

Balancing quantity and quality

At the end of the day, it always boils down to delivering quality content to audiences. Audience engagement focuses on interactive campaigns and trending hashtags. Brands that create lasting engagement with their audiences are those that create content of consistent value for their audiences.

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