When trending conversations turn into good PR.

Brands chiming in on certain subjects or conversations on social media can come off just plain weird sometimes, like making statements when statements aren’t called for or responding to posts that are painfully irrelevant. Whether you’ve witnessed it or been subject to it, it can be awkward for everyone involved. But when done right, it can be a huge opportunity for brand exposure and overall image. So instead of reflecting on the flops, let’s take a look at a couple of wins we can learn from.

Panera renames iconic soup for Chrissy Teigen.

In 2018, when pretty much every one of model Chrissy Teigen’s tweets went viral, Panera decided to go where not many (if any) brands had gone before. In response to Good Morning America’s story on Panera calling out companies for using fake egg product and calling for the FDA to change the definition of “eggs,” Teigen responded, “Yes I agree only actual eggs should be called eggs and their [Panera] broccoli cheddar soup should be called delicious cream times.” From there, yes, Panera replied on Twitter, taking it a step further. The brand, in a wildly fast turnaround, sent Teigen her very own “Delicious Cream Times Soup.” Not only did Teigen receive the soup, she posted the series of events on her Twitter, which garnered over 100K favorites and was picked up on major publications from Food & Wine to Us Weekly. Winner winner, broccoli cheddar soup dinner.

Maine Lobster corrects a major Friends mistake.

In 2019, our beloved (or hated – depending what side you’re on) Friends celebrated its 25th anniversary. And for 25 years, we were led to believe that “lobsters fall in love and mate for life,” according to Phoebe, when she described the on-again, off-again couple, Ross and Rachel, during “The One with the Prom Video” episode. Phoebe essentially references Ross as Rachel’s “lobster,” but it turns out, lobsters don’t in fact mate for life, and the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative chimed in to set the record straight – utilizing the two-decade-old fiction as a timely story. In a classic media relations effort, the Maine Lobster team pitched the news to publications likely covering the anniversary, earning a feature story on E! Online, which was also picked up on TODAY. Not a bad way for the collaborative to come full circle!

Royal Caribbean and Old Navy reward hero Instacart worker.

A couple of months ago, Instacart worker Jessica Higgs’ story went viral on TikTok for her heroic actions that led to helping save an older man from an at-home gas leak. In response to the TikTok, some surprising brands, including Royal Caribbean and Old Navy, offered Higgs and her family a free seven-day cruise anywhere in the world, along with an arranged shopping spree. Instacart reportedly sent her a care package as well as flowers, but the two brands took it a step further to reward Higgs’ heroic acts. You really love to see it. We will note that Old Navy is no stranger to acting in the moment – check out this campaign they created, built entirely from TikTok suggestions.

Duolingo’s “unhinged” owl mascot.

TikTok is littered with what seems like never-ending inside jokes. It’s what gets the people going (and gets the engagement up). And if done correctly, brands can enter the space and gain crazy brand awareness without blowing their cover. Take for example, Duolingo, the language learning website and app. Like everyone, the brand started with zero followers on TikTok, but thanks to their brilliant social media coordinator, the brand now has over 3.6 million followers and counting, and the company mascot, Duo the owl, is their biggest star. How? Well, Duo isn’t your average mascot. The giant green owl often gets into mischievous antics at the company’s headquarters, recreating popular TikTok trends, dances, and a very open obsession with pop artist Dua Lipa. Plus, the brand’s responses are crafted to reflect how their consumers actually talk – casual and a little witty. Who said going viral is limited to 15 minutes of fame? Duo the owl isn’t flying away anytime soon.

And there you have it! It’s only a matter of time until the next brand opportunity arises, but until then, we’ll be on the lookout – for both entertainment and client purposes. If you’re interested in learning more about Crowley Webb’s PR team and our capabilities, we’d love to hear from you.