The Force of Facebook Live Awakens With Chewbacca Mom

July 5, 2016

In late May, Kohl’s received an unexpected brand boost from a video that a customer made of herself trying on a Chewbacca mask she just bought at the department store.

Candace Payne, a Dallas-area customer, is in tears laughing in one of the retailer’s parking lots as she wears the mask that speaks like the “Star Wars” character. You likely know the rest: The clip quickly racked up 135 million views on Facebook Live, making it the platform’s most-watched video ever. Millions more watched it on YouTube.

Within 24 hours, Kohl’s responded with a video of its own, as store officials visited Payne and her family, presenting them with gift cards — and Chewbacca masks.

Observers praised Kohl’s quick reaction to Payne’s video.

“Kohl’s relevant and timely response not only contributed to a spike in positive sentiment for the retailer, but also demonstrates that they are in touch with how people are engaging online with their brand,” said Assaf Henkin, senior vice president of brand intelligence at Amobee, which measures digital content engagement.

“We have a two-way conversation with customers on social media all the time, so we were prepared,” Nancy Carruth, senior vice president of marketing for Kohl’s, told AdAge on May 22. “The most important thing is how nimble the team is, how they act with speed and really stay connected to the conversation.”

In this issue, Stephen Dupont, APR, a frequent Tactics contributor, discusses how PR pros can nurture super fans by crafting relevant communications that speak to the heads and hearts of a brand’s core believers, while allowing others to listen in. As he writes, “It’s fans who breathe life into a brand. Not the other way around.”

A top-flight crisis response

PRSA presented its Best of Silver Anvil on June 9 to the U.S. Air Force for its communication strategy after Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone and two friends thwarted a terrorist attack while on a train in Europe last August. Look for an overview of this campaign with commentary from Brig. Gen. Kathleen A. Cook, director of Air Force Public Affairs, in the summer issue of The Strategist.

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the editor-in-chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.



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