Twitter Highlights Brands’ Most Creative Uses of the Platform in 2018

Budweiser, Heinz and KFC got shout-outs

Remember when Colonel Sanders live-tweeted an episode of General Hospital? Or when Wendy’s and Little Debbie live-tweeted like they were on a talk show? Well, Twitter wants you to.

The social media company on Monday rolled out a list of what it said were the best and most successful brand wins on Twitter over the past year.

“We love creativity, we love marketing and we wanted to put together this list to shine a light on some of the best work we saw,” said Ryan Oliver, Twitter’s U.S. brand strategy lead.

The list serves as a way for Twitter to highlight to brands how they can work with them in the new year, but it’s also an opportunity to look at how brands’ use of the platform is evolving. Here are a few of the most creative brand uses of the platform this year, according to Twitter.

Best brand voice: KFC

Over the summer, KFC live-tweeted episodes of the soap opera General Hospital before KFC spokesman Colonel Sanders, played by actor George Hamilton, made a cameo appearance on the weekday ABC program.

“When you look at what KFC is doing, they’re complementing the iconic Colonel and have been utilizing Twitter over the years to give him a voice,” Oliver said. “They’ve established their own brand voice by tapping into everyday moments.”

Best banter: Wendy’s and Little Debbie

In March, the Twitter accounts for the two brands took a cue from a Twitter user’s suggestion to “host a talk show” and tweeted throughout the morning in the format of a morning show. The stunt featured cameos from the brands MoonPie and Pop-Tarts.

“I equated it to an improv comedy show where you didn’t know what the other people are going to say,” Oliver said. “It was funny and genuine, and all of their followers were noticing.”

Best six-second video: Tide

The P&G-owned laundry detergent brand’s award-winning Super Bowl ad from 2018 (“It’s a Tide Ad”) was revitalized for the 2018 football season, featuring bite-size creative videos, GIFs cut from those videos and tweets from FOX Sports’ football commentators joining in on the conversation. Football analyst Mike Pereira even used the telestrator—the device that allows commentators to mark-up football replays—to highlight the cleanliness of the players’ uniforms for one ad that appeared on the platform.

“A lot of brands are trying to utilize short-form video, and Tide was really smart in playing into the trend and getting people involved in the conversation,” Oliver said.

Best event activation: Budweiser

The Anheuser-Busch owned beer brand was the most-mentioned brand on Twitter during this summer’s World Cup with its Man of the Match polls that let fans vote on their favorite player from each match. The polling activation, which generated 115 billion impressions on the platform, was custom-built for Budweiser by Twitter’s brand strategy team.

Twitter also gave Bud Light a nod for fueling fans throughout football season with its now-iconic “Dilly Dilly” catchphrase and its work engaging with Philadelphia Eagles fans and players, promising free beer to fans if the Eagles won the Super Bowl, altering the catchphrase for Eagles fans and eventually commissioning a statue commemorating the trick play that won the Eagles the game.

Best launch moment: Heinz

The ketchup brand’s April Twitter poll asking followers whether they wanted Mayochup, a combination of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise, in the U.S. promised that 500,000 yes votes would bring the product to market and garnered more than 2.4 billion impressions on Twitter, nearly half within the first 48 hours of the campaign.

“Heinz was able to build upon people participating in the poll, and mainstream media was picking up on this, too,” Oliver said. “It was a fantastic launch for them for getting the word out, and it was all through a Twitter poll.”

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.