Kit Kat is a beloved American brand that is mentioned tens of thousands of times every day. People express their love for the brand, request special flavors and of course, ask for free product. While we acknowledge and engage with as many fans as possible in the form of a like or reply, we are always on the hunt for the opportunity to turn a special mention into a genuine conversation that can earn the brand media and fame without a dime spent in paid media.
On Sunday, October 30th we got that opportunity when Kansas State University freshman Hunter Jobbins noticed someone stole his Kit Kat from his unlocked car leaving a suspicious note in its place. Jobbins took to Twitter to share the note and his disappointment with the #KitKatThief.
Our data analyst quickly surfaced the tweet as the conversation velocity grew, and flagged to the social team for immediate action. Our goal was to find the victim, give him a platform to air his injustice, and overcompensate him for the trouble that the thief had caused in the most public manner possible.
Our social listening, community management and agile earned media strategy resulted in an all hands on deck response that acknowledged the mischievousness of the thief, amplified Hunter's original tweet and delivered on our promise to replace the stolen Kit Kat and then some. This approach led to earning millions of dollars of media and brand love with no paid media spend.
Anomaly's strategic approach to social listening is to ensure that all team members are actively aware of and participating in internet culture. We encourage everyone on the team to set aside time each day to see what's trending on Facebook and Twitter and we provide 'deep cut' accounts to follow. These personalities and curator accounts are typically the first to engage with a post before it goes viral, validating its humor. This was one instance where that strategy paid off, as Kit Kat's handle was neither tagged directly in the post nor was the brand mentioned in the post copy. Typical social listening software or text-based search wouldn't have captured the tweet. Instead, we noticed that one of our favorite accounts had re-tweeted Hunter's original tweet and we went to work.
We tweeted our incredulity that someone would do such an awful (but understandable) act as stealing a Kit Kat back at Hunter and promised to make it right. We also responded to almost every fan that commented on Hunter's original post, furthering love for the brand as fans were appreciative of our timely, funny response strategy.
A Call to Arms:
As part of Hershey's earned media task force, Anomaly huddled with the Kit Kat Brand team, Hershey PR and Ketchum to devise a strategy that would make up for Hunter's lost KitKat and bring the story from a viral internet sensation to a mainstream news story.
The Return of the Stolen Kit Kat:
We decided that we wouldn't focus our efforts on identifying the thief but ensure Hunter would have all of the Kit Kat he ever needed. Ketchum worked with local news and Kansas State University to ensure everyone in the area would witness the spectacle. We went back to the site of the crime and filled Hunter's car with over 6,500 new Kit Kats until the car was literally overflowing with chocolate.
The stunt earned coverage from local and National press and TV outlets, and #KitKatThief continued to trend across Facebook and Twitter for days after. Hunter immediately became the most popular student at his school as he shared the Kit Kats with his classmates, and they shared the stunt across their own social channels. The content captured on the ground was used to support additional efforts on Kit Kat's social channels.
And, while the #KitKatThief is still at large, we made it rain Kit Kats for Hunter and Kansas State University.
Owned Social Totals:
- 5.3MM impressions (1.7MM organic)
- 997K engagements (216K organic)
- 642MM+ Impressions
- 1,245 Media Placements
Initial Kit Kat Response:
- 700K impressions
- 95K engagements
- 510K impressions
- 28K engagements
Through local PR outreach and organic pickup of the story, the Kit Kat Thief received 1,245 media placements and many headlines across a 3 day period.
All of this was achieved with no spend for the brand beyond the cost of shipping the 6,500+ Kit Kat bars to Kansas State University.
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