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Marketing the end of the world

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The world may be ending tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal out of it.

On Friday December 21st, the Mayan Long Count Calendar completes a cycle (a b’ak’tun, if you want to get technical about it) which doomsday-ers decided means the end of the world, and naturally everyone is talking about it on Twitter:

If you’ve decided putting off your holiday shopping over this was a bad idea, fear not– the deals are as varied as the doomsday prophecies. Toyo Tires is giving away prizes on their Facebook page to those who are betting the world isn’t really going to come to an end:

A countdown clock is placed beneath this Mayan-themed add, similar to the one on JetBrains’s page offering 75% off of their products (the world might not end, but this deal will!).

There are many more, and probably some we’ve missed: Lonely Planet has travel tips and a gentle nudge to buy their travel guide at the end of them,  the San Francisco Bulls are having an End-of-the-World-themed game Friday night, Old Spice released an 8-bit style game centered on saving the world, and T.G.I. Friday’s invites you to spend your apocalypse with them at their Last Friday Party.

Jello has taken a more interactive approach on Twitter, using the hashtag #funpocalypse to go along with its campaign of offering up a delicious sacrifice of Jello pudding to appease the Mayan gods and avert the apocalypse. Jello has asked Twitter followers to tweet at them what they would do from their bucket list before the world ends, and is giving away $100 to participants to accomplish the task.

Over 7 days of steadily climbing activity on this hashtag, Jello has reached 572,363 accounts, generating 718, 420 impressions. It’s a great hook for the brand right before the holidays, when many potential customers will be planning out their holiday menus, and might now be inspired to add a good old-fashioned Jello mold to the mix.

Another end-of-the-world campaign with a lot of chatter on Twitter is OkCupid’s email asking users of the dating site if they want to “die alone” and prompting them to log in to find a date for the apocalypse:

OkC users met this email with a mix of indignation and humor on Twitter- some called it dark while others made cat jokes- with tweets reaching 168,004 accounts, for a total of 188,890 impressions. Considering the email went out Wednesday evening and this report was run Thursday morning, that’s a lot of quick exposure for the brand, without even employing the use of a dedicated hashtag to prompt discussion.

One tweet from user @josephbirdsong garnered the most exposure, retweets and mentions:


One clever, themed email to users resulted in 26% of the impressions of Jello’s week-long campaign, thanks mostly to one tweet about it from a single user. Identifying social influencers like that is a big key for brands, especially when an email campaign is kept separate from social media; in fact OkC doesn’t seem to use Twitter very much, tweeting only a few times a month. With the social response from this one campaign, they might want to pay more attention to what is being said about them and join in the conversation.

Unless we all turn to ash tomorrow, that is.

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Written by Sarah

December 20th, 2012 at 10:49 am

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