Guest Post by: Jon Stokes

A few months ago I came across a blog post which compared Nestle’s Polo Mint social media campaign to that of Mars – owned chewing gum brand Wrigley’s Extra.

Now that the campaigns have been going for a few months it’s interesting to see how things have developed.

Polo Mints

When it comes to eating Polos, are you a “sucker” or a “cruncher”? An app on Polo’s site helps you determine which camp you fall into and then invites you to join fellow Suckers or Crunchers on a tailored Facebook page depending on the outcome.

At the time of writing, the combined total of fans for both pages was just over 56,000.

There are a variety of  Polo-based games on the site, all of which feature a running total score for each of the respective “teams”, promoting a lighthearted form of competition between the two sides that’s not dissimilar to Cadbury’s spots v stripes campaign.

Beyond these gadgets however there is very little discussion taking place on either the “Suckers” or “Crunchers” wall. If you filter out posts made by the page admin you can see that the community has suffered from a degree of neglect.

The most recent posts at the time of writing this blog were from 24th December announcing the close of a competition, and the weeks prior to that have simply been messages to encourage participation. General posts that are unrelated to games or contests are usually statements rather than launch points for discussion; for example, “I crunch therefore I am” or “Make it last – suck it”. While these posts do generate some response, the limited scope in terms of content is apparent, hence the lack of real engagement.

Wrigley’s Extra

While Polo’s campaign has the interesting dynamic of pitting fans against each other, Wrigley’s approach demonstrates a method that goes beyond the way its product is consumed, and promotes community discussion for “foodies”  and people who are interested in good food and eating.

The Wrigley’s page is created with the premise that strongly flavoured food and drink, while one of life’s pleasures, are not necessarily things we wish to carry with us for the rest of the day on our breath.

This simple message is not directly centred on the product itself and offers several options for sustainable engagement. A clear example of this is the Enjoyment Map – a simple Google maps app that allows Wrigley’s fans to share and rate their favourite “foody” destinations.

If you filter the posts properly there is a near daily drip-feed of discussion points, ranging from debates on the best pickled food (onion, egg, or gherkin?) to the best national cuisine (which prompted a very long discussion and over 123 comments).

These discussions are generally well received, and topical timing (“Anyone else’s coffee machine working overtime today?” on a Monday, for example) fosters a united feeling between the members themselves, as well as between the members and Wrigley’s.

Conclusion

At a top level, there are more Facebook “Likes” on the Wrigley’s page than on the two Polo Mint pages combined, and well over 2.5 times the fans. Looking beyond the superficial comparison of the fan counts, it is the sustainable conversation topics and levels of engagement from Wrigley’s that makes its community the most valuable.

While Polos identified a fun and lighthearted approach to giving their fans a sense of identity, the campaign is centred around the product itself and by looking wider, Wrigley’s will be able to sustain engagement for as long as their fans enjoy eating and drinking…which will probably be a long time.

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2011/02/social-media-case-study-wrigleys-extra-v-polo-mints/

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