From making a popular video game disappear to bringing back double popsicles and spicy nuggets, here are the most creative launches on Twitter in the US.
Today, it’s more important than ever to nail your launch. With so many advertising messages bombarding consumers, brands need to break through in order to stand out. Since Twitter fosters the most dynamic conversations around brands and culture, the Twitter Next and Twitter ArtHouse teams curated a list of this year’s most creative launches on the platform. Innovative launches like these really make a difference: New research from Bain Consulting Group found that brands that used best practices had revenue growth rates 1.5X to 2X higher than those that didn’t consistently use those practices.1 Good launches can generate buzz and boost sales. And making the right kind of splash from the start leads to long-term success.1
But having a successful launch is not easy. The research also found that only 15% of marketers are getting their launch right and hitting KPIs. What’s different about this elite group that Bain calls Launch Leaders? Their use of Twitter. In fact, these marketers are 2.3X more likely to launch on Twitter.
Here are 12 launches from 2019 to remember:
Best Purpose-Driven Launch
The brand that took a stand and connected to culture in a genuine, authentic way when launching something new.
Our pick: @subaru_usa
Subaru has always been a major supporter of dogs. As part of Subaru Loves Pets month, the brand dedicated a day to helping shelter dogs find their forever home. Subaru launched the first ever #MakeADogsDay, a new national holiday that helps to shine a light on shelter dogs, especially the hardest-to-adopt dogs. Subaru and its agency, Carmichael Lynch, turned to Twitter to drive awareness of the campaign, which featured famous pups and “underdogs” like Marnie the Dog, Doug the Pug, and TurboRoo, encouraging Americans to donate to ASPCA and ultimately adopt.
Best #OnlyonTwitter Launch
The brand that creatively used Twitter as its primary media partner to seize the moment and turn a conversation into a campaign.
Our pick: @Wendys
There are certain things that gain cult status in our culture, like pumpkin spice lattes, Instant Pots, or Wendy’s spicy nuggets — that is, until the nuggets were discontinued from the menu in 2017. But things quickly changed when a prominent musician put out a message of positivity, ending with a prayer to bring back Wendy’s beloved spicy nuggets. The Tweet attracted a great deal of attention. Immediately, Wendy’s saw an opportunity to authentically connect with people on Twitter and turned a simple Tweet into the relaunch of a beloved menu item. In collaboration with its agencies Spark Foundry WW and VMLY&R, the brand posed a seemingly impossible challenge: If its Tweet got 2 million likes, the company would bring the spicy nuggets back. In less than 48 hours, the likes piled up and Wendy’s made good on its promise — and then some. Wendy's launched a campaign to celebrate the return of spicy nuggets and the expanded spicy menu. The campaign drove a 12% lift in visitation,2 4X the average benchmark for quick service restaurants.
Best Connection to Culture
The brand that was able to connect to a big cultural event and drive rich conversation during a launch.
Our pick: @Audi
To launch the e-tron SUV, Audi’s first all-electric model, the automaker needed a marketing plan that was as exciting and innovative as its new vehicle. In collaboration with its agency partners PHD, Venables Bell & Partners, and M/H VCCP, Audi worked with Twitter to get consumers talking about the e-tron SUV and to reinforce Audi’s messaging by synching with one of the biggest cultural events of the year—the Big Game. Riding the momentum of the launch, Audi previewed its 2019 e-tron #SB53 ad on Twitter to fire up excitement and spark conversation prior to its live debut during the game. Audi captured a passionate, leaned-in audience on football’s biggest night — netting the highest number of video views on Twitter during the game among all auto manufacturers with a spot.
The brand that got people excited about an upcoming launch ahead of the big reveal.
Our pick: @FortniteGame
The gaming community on Twitter knew that there would be an in-game event to signify Fortnite's first chapter coming to an end. People loaded up their game or watched their favorite streamer to witness the spectacle … but no one was ready for what happened next: On October 13 at 11:10am PDT, Fortnite began a 36-hour dark period that included taking the game completely offline, leaving fans clueless. The company hid 12,000+ Tweets, leaving behind only a Twitter live stream of a black hole. Fans took to Twitter to hunt for clues, driving conversation and hitting the top of the worldwide trend list — a mark of true success for this stealthy promotion of Fortnite’s Chapter 2 launch. And the live stream of the black hole? That got 42.8 million views and 12.8 million viewers in 36 hours.
The brand that creatively leveraged Twitter to introduce a new product.
Our pick: @Popsicle
One day, a major pop star realized he couldn’t find his beloved old-school Popsicle Double Pops. Immediately, the rest of Twitter made the same realization. Knowing its power to start relevant conversations, Unilever came to the platform to drive engagement with a strong rallying cry and call to action to #BringBackTheDouble. With help from Mindshare and its internal creative agency, U-Studio, Popsicle caught the attention of media outlets and galvanized fans. In 2020, everyone’s dream will come true, as Double Pops will once again grace the shelves.
The new kid on the block that made a splash on Twitter.
Our pick: @disneyplus
To celebrate the launch of Disney+ and welcome the streaming service to social media, several Disney-owned accounts took to Twitter to share their excitement. Disney+ harnessed its fans’ obsessive nostalgia with an epic 600+ Tweet thread showcasing the immense breadth of its iconic library while driving consumers to sign up. They complemented the thread seen around the world with various ad products — Promoted Trend Spotlight, a custom emoji engine, and a Brand Reminder — conjuring even more engagement around the launch.
The brand that strategically leveraged its own Twitter voice during a launch.
Our pick: @TheRITAS
The Ritas is a beverage brand that stands for speaking your mind and asking for what you want. When announcing the return of consumer favorite Cran-Ber-Rita, the brand, with support from Dentsu and Draftline, channeled its irreverent and unapologetic tone to playfully jab at fans leading up to the big flavor reveal. The brand even used Tweets from real fans who dared to declare their love for Cran-Ber-Rita to create a video announcing its return.
Best Use of Live-Streaming
The brand that took the live experience to a new level, bringing consumers into the fold in innovative ways during a launch.
Our pick: @NBA2K
In the gaming community, player ratings are the topic of way more conversations than the actual title release. 2K knew NBA2K always lives at the intersection of #NBATwitter and #GamingTwitter and that talk of the new ratings would be blowing up on Twitter. So it turned its always-anticipated player rating reveal into its own event. 2K, with help from Liquid Advertising and BSSP, revealed the top NBA stars’ 2K20 ratings live on Twitter, driving pre-orders of the video game while achieving record viewership (825,000 total viewership). The hashtag #2KRatings trended to #1 in the US during the live stream, beating out the #TheBachelorette premiere, and #2 around the world.
Best Digital to Physical Activation
The brand that brought the magic of Twitter into real life by converging digital and experiential to launch something new.
Our pick: @DiGiorno
As DiGiorno began using new delivery services like Amazon Fresh or UberEats, Twitter was on fire with people wondering if that went against the brand’s long-standing “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno” tagline. Seizing on the opportunity, DiGiorno played into the conversation by announcing it would deliver free pizzas to celebrate National Pizza Day. And it knew the best way to launch this new campaign would be on Twitter. On October 1, to kick off National Pizza Month, DiGiorno (with OpenMind and Weber Shandwick) leveraged the Promoted Trend Spotlight ad product to take over Twitter and encourage people to Tweet their city in hopes that DiGiorno would deliver to them. After tallying votes (there were 4.1K uses of #DeliverDiGiorno) they partnered with Fooji to deliver over 1,100 pizzas in the top five markets.3
The brand that was able to reward their most devoted fans with exclusive content to drive conversation and excitement on Twitter when launching something new.
Our pick: @GameOfThrones
In anticipation of the final season of its runaway hit series “Game of Thrones,” HBO launched #ForTheThrone, a multiphased marketing campaign to give fans new content in advance of the trailer drop and a forum for talking about the final season that could only happen on Twitter. HBO, Hearts & Science, and BOND partnered with Twitter for an exclusive global reveal of 18 character posters. These coincided with the launch of 20 character emoji on the platform — asking fans to pick their choice #ForTheThrone while taking over Twitter and billboards across New York, London, and Toronto. This set off a firestorm of conversation leading up to the final season premiere. In just 24 hours, HBO matched 33% of all 2018 #GameOfThrones mentions.
The brand that leveraged influencers and creators to spread the word during a launch in new and interesting ways.
Our pick: @blackrock
BlackRock turned to Twitter to drive awareness around the launch of its annual Global Investor Pulse Survey, an analysis of how individuals think and feel about financial health and investing. Since the topic can be a complicated and intimidating one, BlackRock enlisted Twitter’s ArtHouse team to partner with athletes, parents, and prominent figures across different industries to drive awareness of its thought leadership content. By tapping into the ArtHouse Influencers & Creator’s network — and through paid support — BlackRock, with help from Adaptly, Mindshare, and Edelman, was able to authentically reach an audience beyond the typical financially literate cohort. The campaign achieved a 25% lift in awareness among those who engaged with the campaign, while also driving conversation about the connection between financial health and well-being.
The brand that showed a launch story can be told in even the shortest formats.
Our pick: @DunkinDonuts
In 2019, the healthy eats conversation on Twitter increased 12%4 compared to last year. That means restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts must continue to adapt and innovate their products to serve a generation that wants convenience, taste, and health in one package. Dunkin’ addressed these challenges head on by expanding its menu selection to satisfy health-conscious consumers. With offerings far outside of the donut category, Dunkin’, along with Publicis Groupe and BBDO, turned to Twitter to raise awareness of the launch of its new protein-packed breakfast options. Dunkin’ was one of the first brands to partner with Twitter ArtHouse to optimize its highly visual TV commercial to create compelling, feed-stopping assets with consistent branding.
1. Bain & Company, 2019 Launch Marketer Survey, US, n=650
2. Placed powered by Foursquare 2019
3. Twitter Internal 2019
4. Twitter Internal, US Tweets only, retrieved June 2019; Tweets from Jan. 1, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2019