2013 Digital PR Awards: WOW! Campaign

Winner: Quaker & HUGE - Cap’n Crunch Earns His PR Stripes With Viral Uniform Controversy

The Cap’n Crunch brand needed to find ways to reach consumers (primarily men) in their 20s and 30s, who often eat the cereal as an afternoon or late-night snack, rather than for breakfast. Working with PR agency HUGE, the brand relaunched the @RealCapnCrunch Twitter account and Facebook page and introduced an animated late-night talk show hosted by the Cap'n on YouTube. But one of the objectives for the Cap'n’s Twitter social media strategy was to track and monitor memes and relevant pop culture trends. Like manna from heaven, that arrived in June 2013, when a Reddit user posted an image on reddit.com pointing out that although U.S. Navy captains have four stripes on their uniforms, Cap'n Crunch only has three and therefore was not a real captain.

As soon as the PR team spotted the Reddit post and subsequent Twitter conversation, the Cap'n's community manager and copywriter immediately began responding to fans and foes alike with clever tweets from the Cap'n, defending his good name. By monitoring social mentions the HUGE team playfully kept the conversation going with all of the influencers who engaged the Cap'n on Twitter. Once the conversation and media coverage had reached an international scope and appeared on several major national news outlets, the HUGE team got budget to produce an animated response video showing the Cap'n responding to the fraud claims.

The video was viewed more than 53,000 times in less than a month and received more than 380 YouTube "like"s. All told, the controversy resulted in more than 689 million mainstream media impressions and roughly 110 million social media impressions within just one month, resulting in purely organic ROI of $0.05 CPM, with absolutely zero paid media.

Honorable Mentions:

  • AMD - AMD Radeon HD 7990 eBay Publicity Stunt
  • GolinHarris - Cisco Live Social Media Command Center
  • Major League Baseball - MLB Fan Cave
  • MWW - Zumba Nightclub Series ft. Lil Jon & Gina Grant