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From the 7th Annual Shorty Awards

Slim Jim #Bendgate: Safe in your pocket, safe in your mouth

Silver Honor in Real-Time Response


The Edelman ConAgra Newsroom team is tasked to insert relevant ConAgra Foods brands into trending news in order to drive awareness, build brand equity and drive buy rate for its portfolio of brands. The Slim Jim team generated earned, paid and social buzz by capitalizing on the Apple iPhone 6 Plus's #BendGate trend on Sept. 24, when news hit that the new phone bends if left in a tight pocket or sat on for too long.

Slim Jim's primary target audience is 18-24-year-old men working blue-collar jobs. Our community insights showed that the target owned a smartphone, but there was doubt whether they had this new-to-market item. Slim Jim chose to enter the conversation with relevancy the best way it knows how: with satire.

Edelman moved forward from trend spotting to production while also working to receive client approval to post without creative review, as to cut down the minutes between production and posting, which resulted in the content hitting social media while it was still trending and in a matter of hours. The image closely simulated Apple's simplistic signature advertisement style while also using the brand's sarcastic tone. The Twitter and Instagram posts were the most effective to-date on the two channels in terms of engagement with 160 likes and 12 comments on Instagram, and 253 retweets and 139 favorites with a 44.8 percent engagement rate respectively on Twitter along with earned reverberation on Mashable, USA Today and NPR for a total of nearly 3 million traditional media impressions.

Strategy and Execution

Other meat snacks are winning mindshare with the Slim Jim target, which has pushed the brand's core product further down on the go-to meat snack list. Slim Jim's primary objective within the ConAgra Newsroom is to join trending, relatable conversations that allow the team to reclaim the target and showcase meat stick superiority.

When news of #Bendgate broke, the trend was immediately evaluated against the target and brand essence "Just be a guy". Target insights showed that the target might have a smartphone, but likely not the newly-released iPhone 6 Plus, so any content would have to appeal in a way that let our community in on the joke. Channel evaluation was the next step to ensure our branded content was native to the correct channels given where the conversation was organically taking place. #Bendgate was trending on Twitter and hashtags are native to Instagram but trending hashtags rarely pique on Facebook. Thus, this channel, despite it being the largest community for the brand, was not part of the activation.

All of the above evaluation required immediate action, in the matter of 30 minutes, to move from idea to published content while the hashtag was still trending. The posts went live on Twitter and Instagram shortly after spotting the trend. Immediately after hitting post, social engagement began to pile up, the content was evaluated for earned media opportunities and pitched for content roundups to lifestyle and mainstream news sites.

Mashable, USA Today and NPR quickly shared round ups of top #Bendgate brand reactions and included Slim Jim's reaction to the social trend. The earned impressions had a residual effect on Twitter with our tweet gaining 253 retweets and the single most impressions to date for Slim Jim on Twitter at 39,909. Other Twitter analytics showed that more than 15,000 accounts clicked on the tweet to see it in full. The post's 44.8 percent engagement rate speaks volumes about the creative and timeliness of the Slim Jim interpretation of #Bendgate. On Instagram, the post received the highest number of likes to date at 160, which outperformed the monthly average by 385 percent.

Edelman and Slim Jim acted quickly and strategically to insert the brand into a popular conversation in a way that was relevant with the core consumer audience, but also resonated well beyond the walls of the social community. One piece of outstanding real-time creative, rooted in a trend and our consumer insight, quickly ricocheted between social and earned media, garnering awareness, engagement and millions of media impressions.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Company/Brand- ConAgra Foods, Slim Jim; Agency- Edelman


Entry Credits