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Weetabix and baked beans, a match made in hell

Last week the social media team at Weetabix decided to cause mischief by suggesting that instead of fruit, sugar, or pretty much anything else,  Twitter users may want to top their Weetabix with baked beans – #ItHasToBeHeinz. Cue a social media pile on, with other brands such as Lidl, Domino’s and Specsavers responding to the original post with some branded humour.  It’s a tactic that is being used increasingly by companies in Weetabix’s position; to post something outlandish (a form of socially acceptable, tasteful trolling), and other large corporate brands join in with the fun, and it leads to a massive jump in engagement with the brand’s social media channels. Aside from the engagement it drives, such posts can also help to inject some humour and humanity into otherwise often drab corporate communication policies.  We set our Data team to work, and asked them to try and visualise the impact of #ItHasToBeHeinz with regards to Weetabix’s twitter. They set out by scraping every tweet mentioning Weetabix. As you can see below, they collected data over a six day period and as figure 1 demonstrates,  the extent to which a viral post drives engagement, is huge. In this instance, Weetabix went from roughly 250 mentions a day, to 35k mentions overnight. What’s more, three days after the event, Weetabix was still being talked about 1300% more than it was before the campaign. 

Ultimately though, the best way to determine if such activity adds real value, is to look at the lasting impact. Heading into this event, Weetabix had 21,818 Twitter followers. As of the 17th February, the account has almost doubled its following to 42k.

Whether Weetabix can retain interest in its brand in the months and weeks ahead remains to be seen. However, what they have shown, is the value in creative, guerilla marketing in the online forum.


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