For Gen Z, friendship is everything; it’s celebration, introspection, growth, tension, conflict; everything. To introduce the Messenger brand to the world for the first time, we wanted to focus on the kind of close friendship that makes you feel like the realest version of yourself. Under the banner of That Close, the Messenger team worked to shine a light on the shared experiences Messenger can provide that help young people connect and communicate their most authentic selves.
To introduce the Messenger brand to the world for the first time, we wanted to focus on the kind of close friendship that makes you feel like the realest version of yourself. Looking to find Gen Z in the places they live online, we created the #ThatCloseMessenger challenge set to Saweetie and Doja Cat’s “Best Friend.” As Saweetie and Doja rapped about their love for their closest friends, some of the platform’s most popular creators posted content that showed us the difference between friendships that are merely “close” and connections that are That Close. Like our chart-topping soundtrack, our branded challenge was a massive hit that resulted in over 12 Billion views across more than 2 million unique creator videos.
Since this was Meta’s first attempt at a hashtag challenge, there wasn’t a playbook for us to follow. Reaching across the silicon aisle, we partnered with TikTok’s Creative Lab directly in order to understand how to best serve their audience. We also brought on Whalar, an influencer agency, and leaned on their expertise and best practices. Whalar helped us source seven creators with highly-engaged followings on both Instagram and TikTok to kick off the challenge and get the ball rolling downhill toward true virality.
We felt that the short, sharp nature of TikTok content lent itself well to a challenge that contrasted friendships that are simply “close” with the kinds of hyper-intimate bonds that define our That Close ethos. The Messenger team collaborated with Whalar and TikTok to create individual briefs for all seven creators, focusing on their particular subject matter and style of content. We made sure not to prescribe any ideas to our creators, just give them the push that would allow them to express their own version of the idea. What did it mean to each of them to experience the kind of friendships that bring out your realest self? How did the person they presented to the world change as the closeness of their relationships changed?
From the outset, Messenger has struggled to make a connection with our billions-strong userbase. People know of Messenger, but they rarely know what to think of the brand or what it stands for. With that in mind, we endeavored to make sure each one of our creator videos contained clear use cases for the product including filters, avatars, stickers and Watch Together. Even if we found ourselves raising the bar for entry, we saw that including use of the product resulted in an increase in hype and traction around many of Messenger’s lesser known capabilities.
Looking purely at the numbers, our hashtag challenge was an explosive success, garnering over 12 billion views with almost 2 million videos created over the life of the campaign by almost 1,000 individual creators. Beyond that, this campaign served as our introduction into a new medium where Gen Z and their sensibilities are king. Instead of seeing us as an interloper in a new space, our cohort welcomed Messenger to the FYP, reflected in a 3.4pt lift in ad recall and awareness.
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