When it comes to using social to create buzz around new products, Heinz and Cadbury are two of the brands to beat.

Cadbury now defaults to social for all its product launches, having previously used Google+ and Facebook to build excitement around its new Bitsa Wispa and Dairy Milk Bubbly bars.

And Heinz called on its Facebook community to help promote new variations on its Ketchup and soup products.

At Social Media Marketing 2012 last week We Are Social’s Tom Ollerton gave some insights into how Heinz generated buzz around the launch of its latest Five Beanz product.

The Heinz Beanz Facebook page has a highly engaged community of 150,000 fans that call themselves the Beaniez, with some even posting photos of their Heinz tattoos.

Ollerton said that the fans use the page for fun and entertainment, so the brand responds to that with light hearted content such as games and quizzes.

The Five Beanz product was created to reflect the fact that people’s tastes change as they get older, so the campaign was named ‘My Grown Up Beanz’.

It launched a Facebook quiz app that told people which of the five beans they had grown up to become in response to a series of questions about their personality traits.

Ollerton said the idea was to get people excited about the product but also to tie into above-the-line marketing.

To encourage people to take part and share the app, five winners were picked every hour and sent a personalised bean and every user that invited 10 people to take the quiz was given a goodie bag.

Heinz also offered Facebook fans a coupon so they could try the product, but to try and prevent people from downloading loads of coupons each voucher was tied to a Facebook ID. This also gave Heinz some data on the shopping habits of its fans. 

Ollerton said the campaign ran for two weeks and achieved impressive results:

  • 22,143 took the quiz to apply for a personalised bean.
  • More than 10,000 users shared the app.
  • The campaign reached 10.8m people on Facebook.
  • It reached 3m people reached outside of Facebook through Twitter, blogs and news sites.
  • The Heinz Facebook community grew by 30,000 extra Beaniez.

It’s not easy for FMCG companies to generate excitement among consumers around product launches, but Heinz and Cadbury are in the fortunate position of having well-established brands with loyal customer bases.

Both brands have also taken time to cultivate active communities by engaging and rewarding them through social media. This allows them to then run campaigns such as the Five Beanz launch, which both increased customer loyalty and helped to gain extra publicity for the brand.