When 100-year-old food and beverage manufacturer Bolthouse Farms decided to launch its first ever consumer advertising campaign focused on beverages this year, the brand harnessed the visual power of Instagram after realizing the app’s potential among its existing consumers.
Social media insights revealed that over the past two years, Bolthouse consumers have uploaded more than 16,000 product images to their Instagram accounts using the hashtag #bolthousefarms without any incentive from the brand, according to director of brand engagement Pamela Naumes.
“We decided we should tap into natural behavior that was already happening,” Naumes told FoodNavigator-USA. “Our consumers are already posting images of our products. So we asked ourselves, how can we tap into this and deliver value to them in an innovative way that still mirrors what they’re doing?”
Bolthouse launched a social engagement campaign to drive awareness that the brand owns the farms that produce its carrot juice using Brand Recognition, a social engagement tool that verifies consumer Instagram posts of branded Bolthouse images and hashtags and rewards them with access to a coupon.
To participate, consumers upload an image of a Bolthouse Farms product, ad, logo, etc. on their public Instagram accounts, along with the designated hashtags #carrotfarmers and #gotcoupon. They then receive immediate access to a $1.50 coupon via a link (thus bypassing the need for QR codes or third-party apps). The tool was created by Santa Monica, CA advertising agency Tiny Rebellion, along with digital technology agency Wildlife and RevTrax, a platform that tracks in-store redemptions of digital coupons and other promotions.
‘No way TV or radio could hit all those business objectives’
Since the campaign launched in late October, more than 5,500 images with the #bolthousefarms hashtag have been uploaded to the program. Further, more than 65% of consumers who’ve uploaded images are printing out the coupon—the highest print rate compared to any other channel (including paid advertising and search) in which Bolthouse is promoting coupons. The company doesn’t have redemption results yet, but early indicators show that because the print rate is so high, redemption likely will be up there as well, Naumes added.
“I think what it does is it tells our story visually and reinforces that Bolthouse Farms owns the farms that produce our carrot juice while also driving trial and awareness,” Naumes said. “There’s no way a TV or radio ad could hit all those business objectives.”
The campaign, slated to run through February 2014, is also deemed a success because of earned impressions, which will continue to compound brand awareness.
“Every time a user posts an image to Instagram, that person’s friends and followers are exposed to the brand. So more people are aware of who we are, our story and what we stand for,” she added.
Social media meets business objectives
Social media channels are proving to be more than just inexpensive ways to grow consumer engagement—now they're also a critical piece of companies’ overall business strategies. Bolthouse is looking into new ways to promote the Instagram campaign on its website, through paid search and on Facebook; and is also using Facebook for separate campaigns.
“We believe in Facebook and heavily believe in Facebook advertising,” Naumes said. “It has so many different product advertising opportunities to meet different objectives. We have found that the Facebook ads on the right rail do a great job with couponing. And putting ads in Facebook’s mobile news feeds does an awesome job of driving awareness of our 'farm fresh' branding and carrot credentials.”
Above all, using social media platforms are helping Bolthouse meet business objectives and stand out in an increasingly crowded beverage market.
“There is a lot of tough competition in the world we live in,” she said. “Naked is a big competitor, Odwalla is another big competitor. We knew we needed to set ourselves apart from the competition. For a brand like us, with relatively low awareness, we need innovative ways to get word out, but we don’t have budget of some of our competitors, so social media platforms are great tools.”