By Karen Morgan
Social media is an effective way to engage a large audience, and fast. At Flame PR, we’ve long prioritised integrated PR and digital strategies to build a strong brand presence for our clients and amplify core messaging. Keeping our fingers on the pulse as news stories break, we want to share our review of a Twitter storm recently ignited by two household brands.
Who could have anticipated the surprising brand collaboration between Weetabix and Heinz? These two well-established food companies took to Twitter to share a dish that shocked us all - Weetabix topped with Heinz Baked Beans. You could say it’s double the flavour, but would you be brave enough to try it?
Nevertheless, 60.7k social accounts got involved in an online conversation that sparked some humorous responses. Weetabix and Heinz successfully divided the nation and created a recipe for social media hype. These two brands understood that disagreement leads to dialogue. This type of engagement on social media can be a gold mine for digital marketers, because brands from all sectors leveraged this for their own exposure by trying to get involved in the debate. We’ve dissected the ins and outs of what happened between Weetabix and Heinz, and outlined what we can learn from an ingenious comms stunt.
How it all started
Weetabix kickstarted the conversation by posting an image on Twitter of a plate of Weetabix and Heinz Baked Beans poured over the top. The caption read: “Why should bread have all the fun… beans on bix for breakfast with a twist.” This led to a flurry of commercial brands and public sector services getting involved in the online conversation. Even the NHS wrote that the image should “come with a health warning.” Weetabix later remarked “no beans were harmed in the making of the breakfast!”
Fast-food giant, KFC, soon tagged West Yorkshire Police in the thread and accused Weetabix of food crime and tagged their rival, Nando’s, to join in. Nando’s retaliated by saying this was perhaps a step too far and replied with ‘you ok hun?’ Yorkshire Tea chimed in, describing the act as ‘murder’ and West Yorkshire Police agreed that even though it’s ‘criminal,’ people shouldn’t report the incident. Sense of humour certainly shined through and a thread of over 60 thousand tweets went viral.
As the conversation developed, Ofcom then described the event as ‘deeply offensive’ and humoured the nation by warning them not to advertise it on TV. With this in mind, what can we learn from brands talking to each other on Twitter? Digital marketers may argue that getting into a Twitter war is risky. However, pushing the boundaries of social media marketing can pay off and the results can be impressive in terms of impressions.
What can we learn from this?
As communication experts, we’ve given this the Flame seal of approval as a social media win. The publicity generated solidified both brands as relevant and bold. When brands engage with each other online, it humanises them through fun and authentic conversation. This is a display of social media at its best, because if the controversy is handled in a light-hearted manner, brands can benefit significantly from positive exposure.
So, should we throw away the rule book of what’s conventional on social media and be more adventurous in unlikely brand collaborations?
We’re hopeful it won’t be too long before we see more viral social media banter - that’s what makes going viral so effective. It happens when you least expect it and that’s what makes it so successful.
Has this ‘bean’ too much to handle? Sorry, we had to. As far as we’re concerned, our team at Flame PR is ready for the next online roast. As the digital age evolves, we create social media campaigns that follow best practice and optimise content for all online platforms. The reputation of our clients leads our social strategy, whilst incorporating inspiring content to generate maximum impact. Analytics underpin everything we do, enabling us to create highly engaging content. We pride ourselves on knowing which media stories have the capabilities to go viral and delivering results that will get your customers talking. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your brand reach its full potential.