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  • Writer's pictureCormac McCann

Drink It In – Making Brand Connections That Stick

I like a certain sugary drink as much as the next person but how did this drink, it’s generic name “cola”, spawn not just one but two of the greatest brands in the world – in the shape of Coke and Pepsi. It’s important to stress that not all of this brand building is linked to the inherent taste or physical characteristics of the two products in question. The fact of the matter is that our natural inclination to big up one of the ‘Big Two’ owes more to decades of the logo being beamed directly into our central cortex at every major sporting event, on an infinite number of billboards, on online banners in our favourite websites, and via in-store point of sale and merchandise. And when you add in great advertising like “the holidays are coming”, you get the picture loud and clear. But accepting that brands like Coke and Pepsi are the masters when it comes to enveloping us in a blanket of warm fizzy fuzziness, what about emerging brands – or existing brands that want to change their fundamental appeal?

The key to success here is targeting and aligning your brand within the right space. Look at your demographics, age profile, preferences and behaviours. Digital allows us to tap right in and streamline content to the people that want to see it. The option of social platforms allow us to target customers at a granular level, so not more ‘pay and spray’ and no more content drifting off into the ether.

Success on this front requires a lot of pre-thinking, research and strategy. There has to be a reason for everything we do. At Pluto, our approach is to invest heavily in research to find the right space and the right digital targeting platforms. We leverage current and emerging trends, and the underlying climates of emotion and behaviour.

Early this year we had the pleasure of working with a brand we didn’t know – but we now all love. Flipz is a delicious snack and relatively new brand to the Irish market. Working closely with our client, we concluded that “the movie snack” was a perfect real estate for Flipz to move into. We immediately began aligning all our social content around the concept of that perfect night in front of the TV with a good movie, creating an unshakeable connection between Flipz and “the movie night”.

To narrow the targeting, we ran bespoke paid content on social media as part of our drive to become part of the movie night conversation. We examined current trends on social media that would help us make sense of the lockdown behaviours that are the new norm.

As part of this exercise, we unearthed the trend of the ‘Covideo party’, where multiple people watch the same movie at home and discuss it live on social. The queen of the Covideo party, comedian Alison Spittle, was hosting daily on her Twitter channel, and so was born #GetFlipzandChill.

Considered a micro influencer at 26.6k followers, but with a dedicated and highly engaged legion of fans, her completely adapted approach to lockdown and her disruptive content was reaching a mini cult -like status. Our sponsorship of 5 weekly posts, combined with a mailout to get brand to hand, amassed an organic reach of 1.91 million.

This partnership of Alison’s superb content and sending out the Flipz packs to her followers set up the perfect movie night in, and Flipz became a central part of the discussion. A massive amount of genuine peer-to-peer content was created. Without the sometime jarring presence of an ad, Flipz was thrown into the mix as the snack of choice for Irish movie watchers.

The third prong in our campaign to bring Flipz into the movie snack space was to find the right platform to target a very specific demographic. The under 24s are big sweet snackers, and the best avenue to cut through to them in such a noisy world was TikTok. Through native content generated by carefully selected creators we amassed 326,000 views, all organic, with not a cent spent on paid ads. This is the content that our target audience consume and trust – they simply don’t want to see ads.

Through this prolonged campaign and repeated reinforcing of the brand association between Flipz and movie snacking, we have built a long-term love for the brand. And within a very tight timeline, Flipz has become #1 fastest growing brand within the McVities range this year.

This simple case study is a working example of our brand positioning in action – “Connections that stick”. Ultimately, the Flipz experience is one where we have built a connection today that will last well into the future, creating a platform on really solid foundations that will enable the brand to be the long-term movie snack of choice rather than one that simply comes and goes.

By Cormac McCann, Creative Lead at Pluto.

Follow him on LinkedIn.

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