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Quaker Oats: Hitting The High Seas of Social Media — Live from Blogwell

Coverage of this session by University of Washington Senior Lecturer Kathy Gill. Connect with her by checking out her blog and following her on Twitter.

2:10 –’s Kurt Vanderah introduces Quaker Oats Director, Digital/New Media, Barbara Liss to talk about Cap’n Crunch on Facebook and Twitter.

2:12 – Replaces presentation on beer and regulated environment. How many of you have had Cap’n Crunch – lots of hands. In the past 12 months? Not so much.

2:13 – Name of the captain’s ship? (The S.S. Guppy). Captain’s real name? No answer (Horatio). Does anyone know one of his arch nemeses? No answer (He has two – Jean LaFoote and the Soggies).

2:14 – YouTube clip (no demo) got more views than Obama’s debt ceiling crisis speech. Pepsi took a pledge not to promote to kids based on nutritional guidelines [link].  Still $300M business without advertising. Consumers go to Facebook before they go to your website now.

2:15 – We can’t target kids – this is a constraint. I started in January. “Where’s the Cap’n” campaign (turns out they work for an agency).

2:16 – Out of nowhere, we had nothing to do with it – CNN, Fox – “the Cap’n is retiring.” Hundreds of calls per day. We had a strategy in place, two weeks away from launch. We expedited.


2:17- Launched Twitter [@RealCapnCrunch] and Facebook [] – we created a story about his traveling. Let’s experiment together. Made sure we told legal; we had to age-gate the page [age 16 not 13].

2:18 – Facebook had a bigger uptick, Twitter more of a crawl. No media investment, organic, under-the-radar brand. Ice T [@FinalLevel] – I just got RTed by Capn Crunch! [screen]

2:20 – We are talking only from the voice of the Cap’n, which makes us different from many in this room.

2:21 –  Experiment – try new things. For example, we’re trying local tweets. Hey, Michigan! Hey, Ohio!

2:22 – Use what you have. People are nervous about giving control away to consumers. That’s fine – there are ways to dip your toe into that pool. What if we let our consumers design the t-shirt? That goes too far! What if we design three t-shirts and let them vote? That is brilliant!

2:23 – We designed three t-shirts – we let our consumers vote. It gives them a voice. It makes us look socially progressive.

2:24 – Frequency. We wanted the Cap’n to be conversational. We said we would talk to everyone who talked to us. (Example of interaction between customers who asked a question of the Cap’n.) Stats: average 57 tweets per day with average of 22 @ replies

2:25 – We manage some brands internally, some we have partners. We need someone who can capture the voice. We needed a partner for this brand. VaynerMedia – all about community. They have been a partner from the beginning. They have captured the voice and act as an extension of our brand team.

2:26 – If you tweet, I’m sure they will tweet back. Social can equal sales. We saw a 3-5% increase in baseline sales – not a scientific study but we’re taking credit for it.

2:28 – Go 360 – social is becoming the center of Cap’n Crunch efforts next year. “How do we make it social” is now center to thinking.


Q: Talk about the crisis and launch.

A: Were we able to use it to our advantage? Yes. I would much rather not have had the CEO of PepsiCo asking us what is going on.

Q: What are the mechanics of how you facilitate approvals and planning ?

A: In the beginning it was a formula with two-week lead time – submitted to approval – but this has evolved. They know how far they can go, if they have a question, they will send an email.

Q: There are lots of mascots at Quaker – why/how Cap’n Crunch?

A: We did not look at this as launching a mascot. We looked at it as “this is a brand people love” – based on that analysis, we decided to go out as The Captain. There are learnings we can take to other brands in the organization. He is a character and he has a voice.

Q: Plan for identifying emerging spaces like Google Plus, Instagram?

A: We are looking at this as a brand and as a company. As a company, we are still figuring this out. We need to be where our consumers are, but our consumers are moms – how do we balance technology with their needs?

Q: What are your plans outside the U.S.?

A: This is very much about being focused in the U.S. We have basic metrics and boxes we check and reports we make but our analytics have a way to go.

Q: You’re not allowed to market to kids but you are allowed to talk to moms, how does that manifest in what and where he shares?

A: We’ve really used content that makes sense for the Captain. ‘Here’s a health tip’ doesn’t get the same response as ‘what did you put in your oatmeal today?’ You have to be conversational. A lot of our messaging will be nostalgic – how much moms enjoyed Cap’n Crunch as a kid. We’re just Facebook and Twitter, which is where our moms are.

August 9, 2011 0 comments

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