Honey Bunches of Oats

Social media often focuses on visuals to grab a reader’s attention, but there’s potential for even stronger campaigns when brands push to reach all senses. Taking a multimedia approach can provide a fuller experience for fans and get them more excited about your content, whether that includes a jingle, a video clip, or a goofy dance.

Post Foods created a multimedia push for its Honey Bunches of Oats cereal that combined several branches of entertainment into a single social-driven campaign. Here’s a look at the development of the “Smile While You Shake It” campaign and why it’s been such a success for the brand.

Starting a Multimedia Project

Smile While You Shake It screenshot

Mike Foley, Senior Brand Manager — U.S. Hispanic and Export, explained the origin of the new Smile While You Shake It anthem for the product. “We know music has the power to engage and move people like no other form of entertainment,” he said. “By partnering with Domino Saints and incorporating music and dance into this social media sweepstakes, we were able to create the new brand anthem that relayed the spirit of Honey Bunches of Oats.”

Once it decided on a music focus to the campaign, Post Foods used its agency partners and relationships to reach out to potential composers. “We briefed over 30 composers to collaborate with writing an original song that would resonate in a total market way by connecting multiple languages and music genres,” Foley said. “We had a full day where 15 composers presented to us in 30 minute intervals their anthems and recommended artists.”

The company selected Domino Saints and that collaboration yielded the “Smile While You Shake It” phrase that became the main tagline for the campaign.

In English, En Español

The partnership with Domino Saints also allowed Post to expand the campaign to include two languages. The pop duo is based in Puerto Rico, and the majority of their lyrics are in Spanish. Working with them let Post Foods create material in both English and Spanish, and the company has been pursuing several opportunities in the Latino market. The campaign included activation at the Latin Grammy Awards and a partnership with Univision Networks that covered both television and radio.

“We have multiple agencies working across both the general market and Hispanic portions of this campaign — some with specialties in Hispanic marketing,” Foley explained. “However, all of the agencies are working with the same guiding strategy.” Creating a bilingual campaign not only broadens the potential audience, but it gets at the scope of the brand’s goals. “We wanted our campaign to be ‘total market’ and resonate universally,” Foley said.

Leveraging Social Tools

Honey Bunches of Oats Facebook

Once Post Foods had a plan, they needed to get the word out. The company’s partnerships helped cover traditional media outlets, but it also spread the related online materials through a wide net of social networks. “Ultimately, we are everywhere that our fans are online enjoying and engaging with content on all screens, from desktop to mobile,” Foley said. The social push centered on Facebook and Twitter, but also incorporated a strong video component.

“We first wanted our fans to create their own content and we provided the fans a forum through the BunchofBeats.com platform,” Foley said. Most of the sharing centered around the website, but activity was closely linked with Facebook through a third-party app. Post Foods worked with app developer Manifest to create the Smile While You Shake It app. Both platforms show the same collection of videos and either one allows fans to directly record their own video clips.

Once they’d recorded a clip, fans were eligible to win a $500 gift card. While the contest offered some extra incentive to upload a video, the focus was on sharing their own videos. Any clip could be posted to social networks, and fans were encouraged to use hashtags such as #Bunchofbeats and #shakeit along with the links. “The use of two hashtags gave fans the option to choose the hashtag they felt most excited by when sharing their videos,” Foley said. He noted that the #shakeit hashtag was not as popular among fans as the more campaign-specific #Bunchofbeats since the former tag could sometimes direct to other unrelated online conversations.

Lessons for All Companies

The success of the Smile While You Shake It campaign (Foley said the fan response during the soft launch exceeded expectations) shows a couple key takeaways for companies. First, the use of social as part of a broader campaign across traditional media is still a great way to reach a wide audience and generate strong engagement.

Second, giving fans a platform for participating and creating their own work can lead to content that your in-house ad team wouldn’t necessarily have envisioned. “Using bowls, spoons, and cereal boxes as percussion instruments has allowed for a lot of creativity,” Foley said. Creating a springboard for your fans voices can give them ownership and a personal interest in what your brand does on social.

Third, social can be an effective platform for multilingual campaigns. “This program was born out of a multicultural insight and was executed with universal emotional truths around music and culture,” Foley said. Honey Bunches of Oats has strong Facebook followings for its English and Spanish language Pages, and having one campaign to share across both of those languages set a more universal tone. It also lays the groundwork for language-specific campaigns that strengthen niche markets.

[Image credit: Laffy4k]