Daily Insights

A Cheddar Digital Strategy

By: Alizah Asif Farooqi | May 09, 2019

Cheez-It is luring snack lovers with a social media scavenger hunt to promote its new product, Cheez-It Snap’d. The brand has squirreled away a bunker full of the baked snacks somewhere in the US and is leaving it up to fans to find the goods, with help from a trail of tweet breadcrumbs and a year’s worth of lazy loot, like a streaming service subscription, a giant flat-screen TV, and of course, snacks. In a world crammed with flashy frankensnacks and social media traps, here’s how the simple square snack may have cracked the code to digital success.

Starting on May 14, Cheez-It will commence clue creation for its 54,000 Twitter followers. The brand plays up its assumption that supply of its new snack will vanish, hence the hidden stash. One thing to note is that the new product has already hit the shelves with grate reception. Though it might seem like a better idea to conduct a scavenger hunt for a snack that has yet to be revealed, Cheez-It appears to be betting on the cravings of its fans to stick around for clue after clue—no matter how cheesy. In fact, the munchie maker announced on YouTube that it is “genuinely concerned we may run out of cheese” due to the popularity of its new snack. Based on the comments below the pseudo-serious skit, which has stacked up almost 18 million views since its premiere last February and is the second most viewed video on the Cheez-It channel, it’s this mixed bag of innocence and confidence that might actually be endearing to snackers, especially since consumers love a brand that flaunts its flaws.

Still, it’s no secret that Cheez-Its are in a bit of an unsavory spot when it comes to the current challenges plaguing the food industry. Traditional consumer tastes and preferences are changing, according to Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food. Vegan, low-sugar, and low-carb searches in particular grew by 64, 36, and 18%, respectively, fortifying the trend toward healthier, more wholesome ingredients and singling out a lot of popular snacks, including Cheez-Its.

That said, the decision to bring a baked contender into the Cheez-It family is a sharp move. Topping the promotion off via social media is an even cheddar one. The company has had success on social platforms before, especially YouTube, where increased engagement from the Cheez-It Duoz campaign contributed to an over 100% subscriber growth, plus a plethora of views and a whopping 37-spot rise in Gartner L2’s digital rankings.

Snack makers don’t have to trade tribulations for trends. Cheez-It brought on a healthier counterpart, but did so via a slew of social media moves that stayed true to the brand’s cheesy core, demonstrating how a brand can choose itself, but still put the consumer first. Brands in fear of losing their place in the junk food gymboree should try the same if they want to fathom a future in the new consumer’s palette.