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Drew Neisser: Look Who’s Drinking The Social Media Kool-Aid Now

The beverage brand is under new media management that is demonstrating their dominance in the field.

Drew Neisser, Renegade
Drew Neisser, Renegade on November 8, 2013. @DrewNeisser

Packaged goods brands weren’t the first to embrace social media but now that they have, they are bringing a level of sophistication that early adopters only dreamed about.  Case in point, Kraft’s Kool-Aid brand which under the leadership of Tiffany Tamplin, Senior Director of Refreshment Beverages, has mined Facebook data to realign its fanbase, drive app development and even influence its offline media strategy.

Let’s start with the fanbase.  Like many brands, Kool-Aid initially measured success by the size of its social footprint not necessarily the quality of its fans.  Working with LoudDoor, a market research and audience-targeting platform, Kool-Aid discovered that its Facebook fans were predominately 18-year olds and not moms who actually buy the product.  Recalibrating its media buy, Kool-Aid was able to attract the right fans at a cost well below its prior efforts.

Perhaps more impressive is how Kool-Aid took the insights gleaned from the LoudDoor research to find ways to engage with moms outside of Facebook.  Learning that moms are big smartphone picture sharers, they developed an iPhone/Android app that has the newly CGI’d Kool-Aid Man photobombing like a Brooklyn hipster.  150,000 downloads later, the app has generated thousands more social interactions across multiple channels.

To get the full “pitcher” on Kool-Aid’s refreshingly scientific approach to social, feel free to gulf down my interview with Tamplin below:

You mentioned at Pivot that Kool-Aid had a new ad campaign & tagline.  Tell me about the new campaign/tagline, why it was needed and about the shift to the CGI Kool-Aid Man.

Kool-Aid is a brand that brings smiles to everyone because it is undeniably fun. Our new tagline embodies that.  The Kool-Aid Man has been around since the 1950’s and we felt he needed a face-lift for the new millennium.  CGI gave us the opportunity to truly bring the pitcher to life and our campaign is about getting to know the “man” behind the jug.

What role did you think social media could play in the overall marketing mix of Kool-Aid?  

Social as a marketing mix tool plays a key role in creating a personal, meaningful and memorable experience with our brand. It allows us to create a 1:1 experience that is of real substance; an experience you want to share with others. Television, Print and OLA helps us get the word out, but social is where the natural expression and passion of our brand advocates can be harnessed.

The outcome ranged from finding and growing our core consumer base on Facebook to launching our mobile app where the new Kool-Aid Man could be experienced through what we like to call ‘Random Acts of Fun.’

A lot of brands don’t take the time to research the social behavior of their fans.  Can you talk about why you felt the need to do the research you did with Loud Door and the role it played it refining your social target definition? 

Analyzing our Facebook fan base conversation, our agency VSA Partners, could see that we were pulling in a lot of Male teenagers who probably appreciate the brand’s appearance on Family Guy but are not the people who are going out and buying our product. However, we knew our core consumer was online so we worked with LoudDoor to identify her and better understand her so we could start a social dialogue she would respond to.  The net result was significant fan growth this year, exceeding the 3million fan mark.  Today Kool-Aid ranks within the top 10% of branded site.

So now you have a bunch of insights about your target one of which lead you to creating the Kool-Aid photo bomber app.  Talk to me about the app, the role it plays and how it has performed for the brand.

The Kool-Aid Photobomb app was designed to take advantage of the native social sharing that’s embedded in millions of Android and iOS devices.  Sharing and in particular photo sharing is an inherent characteristic of our core consumer and we wanted to facilitate an easy, fun way for her to do so with Kool-Aid.

How else did this research help you?  

We leveraged the LoudDoor insights to target directly to the audience who would be most likely to download the app, purchase Kool-Aid and engage and advocate for the brand in social media.

The result? The app also ranked #24 in the App Store Entertainment category surpassing Hulu, Netflix and ABC in its first week. Mobile Ads supporting the app had 300% above the benchmark norm for awareness and 200% above benchmark for purchase intent.

We are [also] able to leverage the insights to provide more precise targeting to our media agency.

You also mentioned that your Facebook ad spend become 2x to 4x more effective than past efforts thanks to the insights from the LoudDoor research. Can you talk about why you think the ads were so much more efficient? 

We saw 2x to 3x efficiency through LoudDoor targeting executed by Starcom, this was in contrast to using Facebook’s standard interest-based targeting.

Based on the increased responsiveness of your Facebook advertising, does this impact how much you would spend on FB in the future and or/ the role FB advertising plays in the overall marketing mix?  

Yes, we leverage the learnings to deepen our partnership with Facebook and optimize spending. We are working directly with them as part of their “Facebook Garage” program.

How would you like to see your social program evolve in the next 12-24 months?

Our plan is to grow and expand upon the fantastic momentum we started this past year

Thinking...