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.
I am one of those people who is fascinated by branding and marketing. Who brands are, why they are who they are, how they share and connect with their targeted audiences… why did that ad campaign work? How did that company figure to target that audience in that way? And of course, why is some marketing such a failure? In my love for branding and marketing mixed with my passion for social media, I came across Gary Vaynerchuk years ago (if you don’t know him, Gary is “…one of the most sought after public speakers alive today. He is a venture capitalist, 4-time New York Times bestselling author, and an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo and Uber. Gary has been named to bothCrain’s and Fortune’s 40 Under 40 lists.” (GaryVaynerchuk.com, 2017)) I follow Gary on social media, and was excited to see he was part of a series Apple is releasing on iTunes, Planet of the Apps. This show “…a sort of hybrid of The Voice and Shark Tank lets app developers make their pitch to four potential celeb mentors: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Will.i.am who then help coach their mentees through developing their pitches and courting venture capitalists for investments.” (Howard, 2017) One of the most successful pitches on Planet of the Apps was Dote. Dote dons itself a mobile mall in your pocket (Dote, 2017). “The app curates products from over 130 stores, including Sephora, Forever21, and Urban Outfitters, in one place. All you need to do is enter your credit card once, and you can buy a product with a single tap, without wasting time shopping on individual store websites.” (Buxton, 2017) Dote also landed a 5 million dollar investment from VC’s from a pitch on Planet of the Apps, “one of the largest ever doled out on a TV series.” (Vogue, 2017)