How 4 Brands Turned Viral Stories Into Marketing

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

From slime to Instagram-famous foods, these brands found a way to turn viral moments into real marketing…

Every Friday, we call out some of the most buzzed about stories of the week in The Viral List to keep you up-to-date on the online trends, #challenges, #baes, memes, GIFs and more that young consumers are spreading and talking about. Awareness of smaller fads and cultural conversations can help to shape understanding of Millennials and Gen Z, and sometimes collectively point to a larger trend, and also inspire great marketing. But while some brands try to piggy-back on viral content, jumping onto a hashtag or co-opting slang, sometimes these quick efforts come across the wrong way—young consumers are wary of a try-too-hard brand, and in our Talk the Talk trend, we found 50% of 13-33-year-olds think companies that use GIFs and emojis can appear to be trying too hard to impress them. Many also have an “it’s over once a brand has jumped on board” perspective when it comes to social media trends.

One smart way to respond to online trends is to monitor conversations trending around your brand and respond in turn—as Nickelodeon did when Facebook groups were demanding the return of beloved ‘90s cartoons and Pepsi did when they brought back Surge thanks to (nostalgic Millennial) consumer demand. But giving the Facebook fans what they want isn’t the only way to turn viral interest into smart campaigns and products. Today, we’re looking at four brands who turned viral stories (many of which we reported on when they were just starting) into marketing that resonates—and talking about why they work:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingElmer’s and Nickelodeon Get In On Slime

In January, we reported on the “tween-dominated” market of homemade slime spreading across the country’s schools, citing the millions of #slime Instagram…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “I like following Jeffree Star on social media because he creates high-quality makeup while also being entertaining.”

—Female, 21, FL

Millennials are more likely to talk politics at work than their parents. A new study from Peakon has revealed that despite the highly-tense political climate, most Americans are actually comfortable discussing politics at work. Millennials are the most comfortable, with 68% stating they feel “no discomfort” talking about the topic, compared to 62% of 55-64-year-olds. According to Peakon, the internet has encouraged Millennials to “shar[e] their opinions everywhere—on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, etc.,” and their desire for a “more transparent” workplace is also likely driving the trend. (Elite Daily

Honest Company is taking their diapers to the Major Leagues. In a partnership with MLB, the company is launching a “Born a Fan” collection in Target that will offer personal care products, household cleaners, and diapers with logos from six teams: the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Giants, Cardinals, and Dodgers. The brand hopes to tap into “hardcore” baseball fans with the venture, but according to one expert, it may end up being more of a novelty: “It[’ll be] fun to do once in a while. But ultimately parents know diaper performance, and they buy the best.” (Adweek

Aspiring musicians have found a home—and a lot of money—on emerging live streaming spaces. Not only do live stream apps, like YouNow and Live.ly, give up-and-coming music acts the chance to build up large fan bases, but the addition of virtual tip jars has become a lucrative channel of revenue for some, even eliminating the need to do IRL performances or sell recordings. Brent Morgan, a 29-year-old musician, is finding his way into the industry by broadcasting twice a day on YouNow, where he’s making between $15,000-$20,000 a month. (The Wall Street Journal

Asian-Pacific kids would choose internet over TV if they had to pick. TotallyAwesome’s APAC Kids Market Insights report found that 77% of six-14-year-olds in the Asia-Pacific region would prefer to use the internet exclusively versus just TV—an 11% increase from the year before. In five out of the seven countries surveyed, children are more likely to have access to smartphones than TV, but both TV and smartphones are the most popular devices used daily, with 60% using them multiple times a day, versus 44% who use tablets daily. (Kidscreen

Virtual reality is getting a “first-of-its-kind” animated family series. Raising a Rukus, created by Virtual Reality Company, follows the story “of two siblings and their mischievous pet dog Ruckus, who are traveling to different worlds and have magical adventures together.” VRC describes the experience as “watching a Pixar short—except that you are immersed in it.” The series will be available through headsets and in theaters, first in Canada and then North America later this summer. (Variety

Quote of the Day: “My favorite brand to follow on social media is Urban Outfitters because not only do they post about items I am interested in, but I also get inspired by the artistic photos that they post.”—Female, 16, CA

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