How Kohl’s Successfully Reacted to the Chewbacca Mom Facebook Live Video



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The Facebook Live video of Candace Payne hysterically laughing in a Chewbacca mask she purchased from Kohl’s was an overnight viral sensation. As a result, Kohl’s sent a camera crew down to her house to deliver masks for her family, gifts for her kids and $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards. Performics promoted the photos and videos in real-time on Kohl’s Facebook and Twitter, achieving exceptional performance results.

At Social Media Week Chicago, Andrea Port (Senior Manager, Social, Kohl’s) and Ryan Sullivan (SVP of Performance Services, Performics) discussed this video, as well as the proactive strategies for paid social performance and required tools to succeed in this rapidly changing social media landscape.

To watch this talk, plus access more than 100 hours of other SMW events, presentations, and interviews, sign up for SMW Insider. Here are Performics and Kohl’s successful performance marketing examples of social media marketing.

Chewbacca Mom is an organic video where a mother put on a Chewbacca mask from Kohl’s and started laughing uncontrollably. “This video went crazy viral. We did little digging to find out who Candice actually was and mapped it back to our customer dater. We realized she was a Kohl’s loyalist,” says Port. As a result, Kohl’s marketing team called her up and, gifted her more Star Wars merchandise and Kohl’s cash, and paid her a visit.

“We capitalized on that organic moment by putting some spend behind it. We got an image of when her kids and her received their new masks and toys. We had a video go up 12 hours later,” says Port. With 145 million total views, both paid and organic, the campaign was shown to be a success. Port attributes part of this success to their timeliness as well as the reach acquired from paid social. “If we can’t get our reaction video up within 24 hours, we’re just going to stick with the photo and move on. It was a good way for organic and paid to work together because we increased our reach by putting paid behind it.’

Kohl’s partnership with the Oscars was their chance to do something different, while also remaining authentic to their brand. “We thought about how we wanted Kohl’s to be a part of the Oscars from a social media standpoint. We knew we wanted to get people excited about the partnership.”

Their strategy was to put most of their dollars pre-show into Pinterest, since that was where most of the discussion initially occurred. They then moved the media plan and content onto platforms like Twitter and Facebook. “During the show, people could watch our Periscope on their Twitter feed instead of going to the Periscope app. We shifted all our media dollars directly onto that the night of. We knew everyone who engaged with the content could be a valuable resource to us in the future,” explains Port.

“Our oscar campaign was super successful cause we kept connecting with our audience afterwards.”

Sullivan adds to the discussion by mentioning the role of a partner like Performics when capitalizing on cultural moments. “We understand the landscape and discover – based on research and past performance – where and when we want to move our dollars, what the recommendations are, and how to set our budgets based on the criteria and KPI’s we set for things that look like this.”

Sullivan also advocates for increasing the longevity, not just of campaigns, but of the data collected through paid social. “If you’re just relying on organic weight to carry you forward, you’re missing out on the opportunity to really learn a lot in the process.”

The organic conversation around the World Series is something that Kohl’s wanted to be a part of. “We worked with Performics to find out what kind of ad units would help us get into that conversation without shoving products down peoples faces,” says Port.

Due to the success that Kohl’s found from Twitter polls during the Oscars, the brand decided to strategize by putting up a series of polls in the lead up. “At first, we get people engaged and then give them products to shop with. Anyone that engaged were served products that they could shop.”

As for the opportunities that the future holds in using social to drive revenue, Port says “What’s most important is where the customer is and their intent to purchase. There are people who have a need, but don’t know about the solutions that Kohl’s has to offer.”

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