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Special Project

Special Project
From the 1st Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Pretzelmaker's #WarmThoughts Campaign

Entered in Food & Beverage


It's an unfortunate fact, but in this day and age, it doesn't take very much digging on social media to find a lot of negativity. All too often, it seems as though social media has become a platform for users to display negative thoughts and feelings about current events, other people – you name it. Pretzelmaker, a national soft pretzel chain with 200+ stores nationwide, aimed to change this narrative for their annual celebration of National Pretzel Day on April 26th through their #WarmThoughts campaign.

The objective of the campaign was to spread positivity on social media, in a time when it's desperately needed, through the power of a free pretzel. Users who shared a kind message on social media using the hashtag #WarmThoughts received a free Pretzelmaker pretzel in-store on National Pretzel Day. Customers simply had to show employees the #WarmThought they posted online to redeem their free pretzel.

It's a win-win – increasing positive vibes online and free pretzels!

Strategy and Execution

For Pretzelmaker's #WarmThoughts campaign to be successful, we had to spread the word about how customers could receive their free pretzel on National Pretzel Day. This required a multi-faceted awareness campaign that was implemented on four separate platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Pretzelmaker also implemented an influencer campaign on YouTube to help raise awareness about the #WarmThoughts campaign.

Promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram and promoted tweets were all used to support the campaign. Posts and tweets instructed users to share a kind message on social media using #WarmThoughts and show it in-store to a Pretzelmaker employee on National Pretzel Day for their free pretzel.

The campaign was also supported through a Facebook event, and event response ads were used to drive users to the event.

In the days leading up to National Pretzel Day, Snapchat was also used as a platform to further raise awareness about Pretzelmaker's #WarmThoughts campaign. Pretzelmaker's Snapchat story included snapchats directing users to share a #WarmThought on social media to redeem their free pretzel on National Pretzel Day.

In addition, Pretzelmaker leveraged popular YouTube influencers to help spread the word about National Pretzel Day and Pretzelmaker's #WarmThoughts campaign. 11 influencers, whose videos range from tech to beauty to lifestyle, included a nod to the campaign in one of their videos, and explained to users how they could receive their free pretzel on National Pretzel Day. Some of the influencers visited a Pretzelmaker store in their videos, while others expressed their personal investment in the campaign and the goal of spreading positivity online. Influencers were also required to post to either Twitter or Instagram about the #WarmThoughts campaign.


Pretzelmaker's main goal of the #WarmThoughts campaign was to increase sales and transactions on National Pretzel Day, and that objective was met in a big way. Comparable sales were up 16% year-over-year when compared to National Pretzel Day 2015, and there was an 82% increase in transactions. Pretzelmaker estimated that they gave out over 41,000 free pretzels for National Pretzel Day 2016.

That's a lot of pretzels – and a lot of online love! The air of positivity on social media and increased awareness about Pretzelmaker and the promotion were added bonuses.

Users were excited to share a warm thought for a warm pretzel, and we saw a flood of positive messages through the widspread use of #WarmThoughts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. On Twitter and Instagram alone, there were over 550 posts using #WarmThoughts, reaching nearly 200,000 people and generating over 210,500 impressions.

Promoted posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter reached 600,000 people, with nearly 50,000 engagements and $0.08 cost per engagement.

The National Pretzel Day Facebook event had approximately 7,950 responses and reached a total of 219,487 users. The event response ads resulted in approximately 2,500 responses, accounting for 31% of total responses to the event. The event response ads reached 185,250 users with a $0.60 cost per event response.

Pretzelmaker's supporting Snapchats had over 4,000 views, and the influencers' videos had over 140,000 total views, with over 1,800 total engagements on their National Pretzel Day social posts.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

MGH, Pretzelmaker