Science, Snack Foods, and Snail Jokes Boost Consumer Morale
By Natalya Minkovsky
Come for the Puns, Stay for the Science
In the early days of social distancing, TikTok brought us the dalgona whipped coffee trend and celebrities dancing, but one organization has found success on the short-form video platform with a different form of entertainment: snail jokes. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History has amassed more than 127,000 followers and 1.7 million likes with a series of videos in which Tim Pearce, head of the section on mollusks at the museum, tells jokes and provides snippets of educational information about the shelled gastropods. Although the content existed elsewhere, it really took off once the museum began to share it on TikTok earlier this year; the most popular joke has nearly 2 million views.
When the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, first closed to the public during the coronavirus shutdown, head of security Tim Tiller was asked to temporarily take over its social media accounts. New to Twitter, Tim launched his presence on the platform with the tweet below, which has garnered more than 53,000 likes and more than 6,000 retweets. But the museum truly struck gold on his second day, when Tim tweeted, “Twitter tips, please,” followed shortly by, “Sorry, thought I was Googling that.” The internet was instantly charmed by Tim’s wholesomeness and chimed in to offer tips and encouragement.
Though his grasp of web lingo and netiquette is coming along nicely, he continues to politely end each tweet with his now-signature sign-off of, “Thanks, Tim” and the hashtag, #HashtagTheCowboy. With a mug of coffee in hand and a cowboy hat on, Tim shows off the museum’s collection, promotes online educational resources, and even tells the occasional cowboy joke. Given the popularity of his tweets, the museum has even started to sell a #HashtagTheCowboy T-shirt on its store website.
Hello, my name is Tim and I am the head of security for The Cowboy. I have been asked to take on the additional duty of social media management while the museum is closed. I’m new to this but excited. My team will also continue to protect and monitor the museum. Thanks, Tim Send pic.twitter.com/bPiXD9DoAd
— Nat'l Cowboy Museum (@ncwhm) March 17, 2020
Brands Share the Magic of Their Foodie Kingdoms
When people are enjoying a day out and about (at least, when that was still a thing), food is usually an integral part of the experience. So, how are brands like amusement parks, hotels, and retailers staying connected while their visitors are now stuck at home? Some companies are finding that the way to their loyal fans’ hearts is through their stomachs.
With its theme parks currently closed, Disney has begun a blog post series on Cooking Up the Magic at Home, where it’s revealing recipes for some of its signature in-park snacks such as churro bites and inviting people to create their own #DisneyMagicMoments. The company also shared an illustrated recipe for its popular Dole Whip frozen treat through the My Disney Experience mobile app.
Travelers who look forward to being welcomed with a warm cookie whenever they check into a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel can now take that experience home with them. While copycat recipes have circulated online for years, Hilton has released its official recipe and a tutorial video (below), hoping to bring “a moment of comfort and happiness” into peoples’ lives as they wait for the go-ahead to resume their travels.
And for shoppers who are missing their favorite IKEA meatballs while the stores are closed, the Swedish furniture company used its UK Twitter account to release instructions for making the iconic meatballs at home. The recipe is designed to look like the company’s furniture assembly instructions, but good news: no Allen wrench required.
Zooming in on Branded Virtual Backgrounds
Online video gatherings have become a lifeline for both professional productivity and social connectivity. For many of us, these events are taking place on Zoom, where users have the option of hiding their messy kitchens with a virtual background. While Zoom provides its users with a few starter images, brands are discovering that sharing their own artwork might get them an invitation to be part of their customers’ conversations. For example, FOX used its Twitter account to release backgrounds that put Zoomers into the animated homes of shows like The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and Family Guy. Themed backgrounds shared by Lucasfilm Ltd. on its official Star Wars website put fans in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon or the control room of the Death Star. Universities like Northwestern and the University of Pittsburgh and nonprofit organizations such as Annenberg PetSpace and the San Diego Humane Society are also sliding into the background act, as are furniture and home decor brands like West Elm and Behr Paint, whose stylish screen designs might inspire customers to make real-life improvements to their homes.
J&J Drops Some Viral Science
As many pharmaceutical companies race to find treatments for COVID-19, Johnson & Johnson is bringing consumers with them into the lab through a video series hosted by journalist Lisa Ling. Each 30- to 45-minute episode of The Road to a Vaccine includes remote interviews with leading scientists, researchers, health care workers, and public health experts who discuss topics like how a COVID-19 vaccine might work, the processes for developing one, the impact this virus is having on minority communities, and what a return to normal life might look like. Viewers can tune in to watch live and submit questions or watch a replay any time on the Johnson & Johnson website.
SAP, HP Provide Resources for Kids and Parents
For many parents, the annual Take Your Children to Work Day observance has become a daily occurrence as they work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, software corporation SAP wanted to observe the tradition in a more familiar way, while also raising money for No Kid Hungry, an organization working to end childhood hunger. The online nature of SAP’s Virtual Take Your Child to Work Day enables children who had no relationship to SAP employees to participate. According to SAP, more than 38,000 people tuned in. The programming, published on YouTube, connects kids with athletes, entertainers, and celebrities who share stories about working from home and host fun activities – from a dance tutorial and yoga instruction to a design project of making thank-you cards for health care workers.
In support of parents who are now also playing the role of teacher, HP launched a free online resource, Print, Play & Learn, which features worksheets, puzzles, coloring pages, and other printables for kids ages 2 to 12. Can you get more on brand than a library of printable resources from a printer company? According to a recent HP study, 66% of parents in the United States are using their printers for educational and school-related materials, and 25% of parents have either bought a printer due to physical distancing needs or are planning to buy one.