Mixing Social Media and Pop-Culture: 3 Examples Marketers Can Learn From



From “Game of Thrones” to “Star Wars,” we are sometimes obsessed with television, movies, sports, fashion, and other pop-culture phenomena. How can professionals learn from the best that combine pop-culture and marketing?


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Tapping into the audience of a hit television show or movie started out with simple telephone competitions and magazine submissions. Now, the familiarity, growth, and access of social media around the globe has meant a new level of audience interaction with networks and production houses sharing behind the scenes clips, and even creating social profiles for fictional characters.

Commenting on pop-culture is a battlefield among brands, especially as everyone is competing to make the most noise about the same topics. While audiences can sniff out cheap attempts to get their attention, when a campaign successfully strikes a chord with individuals, it certainly resonates throughout the digital world, or at the least, with that brand’s community. Here are some of the best ways organizations capitalized on pop-culture opportunities, and how your business can too.

Viking – Star Wars Post It Notes

Office products and stationery company, Viking, went above and beyond on “Force Friday” for the upcoming Star Wars film, “The Force Awakens.” Viking set the social media world on fire on in September by Tweeting out their Star Wars post-it note mural project.

Star Wars Mural

Made from over 3,500 post-it notes, Viking showed off the impressive office walls covered in Star Wars characters, as well as the process of how they made them. Mashable UK picked up the story, and the project was shared over 48,000 times from the site alone (turning it into one of the ten most shared posts on the internet for that day), with many more pop culture and creative design outlets picking it up along the way.

The project is instantly understandable from the moment you see the first picture. Creating famous “Star Wars” characters in pixel art form is a novel way to celebrate them as well. Coupling this with a wealth of imagery showing how the murals were made, and each site that picked up the story had plenty of material to participate in the pop-culture story.

Pepsi – Back to the Future Pepsi Perfect

“Back to the Future” featured several futuristic products that become cultural icons, including self-lacing shoes and hover boards. On October 21st, 2015, brands exploded with videos and Tweets hopping onto the bandwagon. Shining among them was Pepsi, who actually created and sold a limited amount of their (now formally) fictional product from the film, Pepsi Perfect.

Pepsi BackToTheFuture

Only 6,500 bottles of Pepsi Perfect were made, though demand for the bottles proved to be so popular that they’re giving people another chance to pick up the collector’s item in November. To go the whole nine yards, Pepsi even created an advertising spot complete with flying cars, robots and the Café 80s featured in the film. Thousands of individuals discussed Pepsi and “Back to the Future” using the hashtag #PepsiPerfect.

Many of the products used in “Back to the Future” are far away from our everyday technology, or even existing, but Pepsi only needed to create the specific packaging to bring Pepsi Perfect to life. This set it aside from many other brands who, on October 21st, merely Tweeted about “Back to the Future” and shared fun images online, rather than selling a physical product.

Blinkbox – Game of Thrones Dragon Skull

“Game of Thrones” is arguably the social media king when it comes to pop culture, as each episode brings with it a wealth of Tweets and videos from fans speculating character developments and story twists. The show is also a heavy hitter when it comes to brand interaction, perhaps the largest one is Blinkbox’s giant dragon skull sculpture, used to mark the show’s third season becoming available on the UK streaming service.

Game Of Thrones Skull

Blinkbox is a video on-demand platform in the UK, and this was a sharable experience for lucky viewers. There was also a “making of” video to show people behind the scenes on the skull’s creation, which is nine feet tall and 40 feet long. The project also provided a great photo opportunity for individuals on Charmouth Beach, an area known for its discovery of dinosaur fossils.

The skull was then moved through London to a “Game of Thrones” fan screening, encouraging people to Tweet with the hashtag #DragonSkull. The stunt was a massive success, generating over 35 million Twitter impressions, 250 pieces of coverage and attention from both national and international media outlets.

Brands can turn fantasy into reality, and tap into established audiences to show us they are emotional, passionate, and not just robots blasting out promotional messaging. Businesses can have some fun combining pop-culture and social media marketing, especially with communities that pay a large amount of attention to detail, and also like to see characters and worlds they love on TV and in movies portrayed in new, unique, and unusual ways.

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