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Nilla Wafers want to be your friend, then make you a customer

The company behind Nilla Wafers — the vanilla cookies that have been around for years — is taking a very modern approach to finding customers. An interesting story about social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk included this anecdote:

Most of Mr. Vaynerchuk’s clients split their marketing dollars between social media and some combination of television, radio and print, making it hard to divvy up credit (or blame). But in August last year, Mondelez International, a snack and food conglomerate spun out of Kraft Foods, started an experiment. It spent every single ad dollar for one brand, Nilla — those little vanilla wafers — online….

It worked. The Nilla Wafers Facebook page grew from 15,000 to 356,000 likes. More important, Mr. Bough says sales are up 9 percent so far this year compared with the same period in 2012. And the advertising costs for that increase are a small fraction of a conventional media campaign.

We live in a world where everyone can be his or her own media company. Brands don’t have to deal with traditional media to connect with potential customers. Another great example of this was Oreo cookie cashing in on the Super Bowl blackout with a clever tweet. Oreo was talked about more than plenty of brands that spent $3.5 million for a 30-second commercial during the game.

More and more, success in media is a meritocracy. What matters isn’t whether your content is an advertisement, a traditional news article or a casual blog post, but whether it resonates with readers and provides them some value. Expect to see more brands trying to make you their friend on Facebook, or convince you to follow their clever tweets.


Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.



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Matt McFarland · November 4, 2013

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