My Geeky Valentine: Candy Heart Link Bait

The folks at Necco developed a sweet link bait campaign for Valentine’s Day to celebrate the introduction of new social messages like “TWEET ME” and “TEXT ME” — design your own Sweethearts conversation hearts.

This fun little bit of link bait gives you the power to say whatever you want in your candy heart conversation! Feeling romantic? Bitter? Sad? Witty? Sweet? No problem, say it with digital candy in public on Twitter or in private via e-mail.

Dear search geeks, here’s a sample Valentine for you and our favorite search engines. Try it yourself; the app is available free for the iPhone as well as at the campaign’s microsite.

From a link building standpoint, Sweethearts is putting a lot of effort into generating buzz for the app and the launch of the new candy messages on their Sweethearts Twitter profile and their Sweethearts Facebook profile. Nicely done, Sweethearts — good interaction with fans and frequent but not overly repetitive tweets and posts about the app and the launch.

The piece I see missing is consistent cross channel promotion. There’s a blog / Twitter contest that doesn’t mention the app and some strong news articles focused on the new candy messages that may or may not mention the app but don’t include links to it. So there’s a some promotion of the candy and the new messages happening, but it’s not being tied consistently together to also promote the link bait outside of Twitter and Facebook. In addition, there’s no mention of the app on the official Necco Sweethearts product page, or the games page, or the news page. The Necco homepage does have a large image feature and link, but that’s the sole mention as far as I can see.

The app is one piece of the launch’s promotional campaign, but it’s an inconsistently mentioned piece. From a link building standpoint, the app represents sweet link bait. But it needs promotion to succeed as link bait. Without promotion, link bait is like a tree falling in the woods. If no one sees it fall or stumbles over it later, it may as well not exist. Which means it won’t drive the quantity of links that it could with stronger promotion. Stronger ties with press relations, online marketing for the site, e-mail campaigns and other marketing channels would strengthen consistency of promotion for the app and naturally generate more links.

I only stumbled over the app as I was tweeting something else. I happened to notice the small suggested app link on my Twitter homepage and clicked it because I love Sweethearts. They were my favorite Valentine’s candy as a kid. The Twitter link is a boon, but it rotates with 15-20 other links. It’s not a persistent, visible presence to drive eyeballs or link juice to the app’s microsite.

Maybe the app wasn’t designed as a link building tactic. That seems likely since it has no links to pass link popularity in to any other Necco or Sweethearts web content or social profiles. I find that extremely surprising. The app developer gets a link, iTunes gets a link for the iPhone app store, but Sweethearts doesn’t link to its own site or profiles. OK, perhaps SEO and link building weren’t taken into account at the beginning. But since Necco has already spent the resources to dream up and develop the app, why not link back to the primary Necco site, promote the app more strongly with the promotion they’re already doing for the new messages launch, and get more buzz and link popularity for the campaign’s cost?

Web PieRat logo.

Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Cars vs Greeting Cards: Critique of Social Media Campaigns

I’m really looking forward to tracking the progress of two social media campaigns currently in progress, one complex and one simple.

Smart & Simple
American Greetings has launched a fun and easy Twitter Valentine’s Day campaign that asks followers to tweet a response to 14 daily questions and tag them with #LoveAG. Each day one winner will be chosen to receive $350 in gift cards.

Today’s question: “You’re a Grammy Award winner (like our beloved Taylor Swift) & you’re writing a love song-what’s the chorus?” Horrifying, humiliating, horrendous … but I admit I did submit my own awful chorus. Yesterday was “What does it feel like to fall in love?” Who knows what tomorrow will be, but I’ll be checking in to see.


That’s the entire campaign! Simple, engaging, brilliant! No content creation, no media development, no promotional costs. Just a good idea, $4,900 in gift cards, and the daily discipline and creativity for 14 days to tweet like crazy on the same topic without sounding bored or repetitive.

Could it be better? Even the best campaigns can be better in hindsight. The contest comes from the corporate branch of American Greetings (, The consumer ecards and interactive site has a separate site and Twitter account (,, which sadly is not participating in its corporate sister’s Valentine’s fun. In addition, I see no mention of the contest on either the corporate or www site, though there are plenty of other Valentine’s promotions. Why not include a homepage link with a fun visual, a blurb in the e-mail newsletter, a press release, shout it across affiliated Twitter profiles and the forgotten Facebook profile? Use the channels the company controls to get more impact for the campaign’s effort.


Going for the Gusto
On the other side of the spectrum, Volkswagen pulls out all the stops for their “Punch Dub” campaign that spans TV advertising, Twitter, Facebook, a YouTube Channel, a Posterous blog and their primary site. They’ve created a personality (Sluggy Patterson), an online game, video content, and more, all leading up to their spot on the Super Bowl. That’s a whole lot of promotion, friends. It’s sparkly, it’s now, it’s what cool is supposed to be.

The problem is (cringe) I just don’t care. This campaign feels like it’s talking at me, not engaging with me.

OK, so maybe I’m not the target demographic for VW’s Punch Dub. I’m female, I drive a Prius, I live in a rural town in Wisconsin, I probably won’t watch the Super Bowl. Sure, I like crotchety old guys with grizzled senses of humor as much as the next gal. And it’s neato that VW created this character around Slug Bug, a cherished childhood game that admittedly still creeps into my mind as I drive. But I don’t feel compelled to log in today to see what Sluggy has to say on his blog, or video, or tweets.

That said, I’m not exactly American Greetings’ target audience either. I might buy 6 traditional greeting cards a year and I hate ecards. Sorry, AG, I’m a Snapfish photo card girl.

So why does American Greetings’ simple campaign speak to me and VW’s fancy multi-channel campaign not? For me it’s the engaging factor. It’s the invitation to participate in the fun rather than sit at a brand’s feet and wait for it to speak at me. What do you think?

Web PieRat logo.

Originally posted on Web PieRat.