The Secret to MoonPie’s Social Media Success? They’re Just Like Us.

Rick Andrade    March 12, 2018

MoonPie, the chocolate marshmallow treat that has been satisfying Americans for over 100 years has seen a shocking renaissance as of late. Never known as a particularly hip brand, the snack cake manufacturer has been a well-known property — particularly in the Southern United States — but has never particularly ubiquitous in the way that other snack cake, like Twinkies, have been.

After a century of inoffensive marketing, the company decided to hand over the reins of their social media properties The Tombras Group, who in turn decided that the best marketing strategy for the company was to take on a new edgy tone that was more conversational and fun. It turns out, the strategy was exactly the right one.

A Strong Twitter Game

At the heart of their social media strategy, The Tombras Group embraced Twitter as their go-to social media vehicle for MoonPie. Rather than staid tweets promoting the cake as a delicious snack, the team decided to go for a different approach. They approached Twitter from a truly social and modern perspective, eschewing grammar and punctuation at times to capture the look and feel of most Twitter users and giving salty and oftentimes surreal tweets and responses.

What really put the brand over the top, was a simple takedown of Hostess, in which they claimed to be the snack of the eclipse:

The tweet had over 500,000 likes and 195,000 retweets, and it suddenly thrust MoonPie into viral territory. Giving them a cool that was impossible to predict. The team were very careful to keep the line between edgy and offensive clear though. As MoonPie’s marketing V.P. Tory Johnston told FastCompany: “Part of our magic is that we’re not trying too hard to be irreverent or cool or edgy,” said. “We’re just having fun with it, and people respond to that authenticity.”

Patrick Wells, the main driver of the social media outcome at The Tombras Group said via e-mail:

“The desired outcome was to just make noise and to bring MoonPie back into people’s minds and consideration sets. There wasn’t necessarily a huge sales goal behind Twitter, so we didn’t have anything to lose. We had very trusting clients who were just happy to be back in the spotlight. They were a part of Americana culture for a century, and they were willing to trust in creative people to bring them back – even if it was a different medium then usual. “

Using Cultural Branding 

With audiences reluctance to follow traditional advertising, MoonPie’s team hit upon a great way to update their brand. By interacting with their audience on their level, they were able to cut through the noise to crowdculture-savvy customers and create a loyal following that turned their brand into a must-follow property.


Lessons for Others

Because of MoonPie’s modern approach to social media, the company was able to break out of their traditional brand image and into the cultural conversation. The approach was so successful that MoonPie saw sales higher than they’d ever experienced in their 100 year history, with their bakery falling short of orders — even when they were equipped to handle one million MoonPies a day.

Organization: MoonPie
Industry: Snack foods
Name of Organization Contact: Patrick Wells, Social Media Manager, The Tombras Group

Authored by: Rick Andrade

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


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