Why a plant-based food company started the first TikTok scavenger hunt featuring Gronk just in time for the Super Bowl

vegan

Did you know that people consume in the neighborhood of 1.4 billion chicken wings during and around the Super Bowl? That stat — appetizing to some, horrifying to others — is what convinced a small plant-based meatless company called LikeMeat to launch its new plant-based, faux-chicken wing food, Like Chick’n Wings, in the lead up to the Big Game. 

Part of a broader social- and search-driven campaign curated by 72andSunny, LikeMeat has launched what it believes is the first scavenger hunt promotion and contest on TikTok, employing a series of celebrities and creators in a sequential set of videos, the first of which went up on TikTok on Jan. 26 and features football player Rob Gronkowski. Winners of the scavenger hunt are entered into a sweepstakes to win tickets to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. Horizon Media’s social-led agency Blue Hour Studios produced the series of videos. 

It’s yet another example of a marketer or brand using the cultural and social heat around the Super Bowl without spending the $6.5 million per 30-second spot to advertise in the Big Game on NBC. 

Here’s the gist of the organic part of the effort: People have to figure out some secret code embedded in the Gronk TikTok video to unlock the second video and so on, with the subsequent videos involving well known TikTok personalities (Digiday won’t identify them so as not to spoil the contest). Those that reach the end are entered in a sweepstakes to win Super Bowl tickets. 

“Challenges are inherent to the TikTok platform, but no one’s pulled off a scavenger hunt like this on it before,” said Alexandria Lo Grasso, Blue Hour’s creative director. (TikTok was unable to verify that this is the first scavenger hunt on the platform, given the voloume of content that gets uploaded.) “We intentionally leaned into a diverse lineup of personalities, all with different background, points of view, and styles.” 

Though it’s too soon to know if the organic kickoff achieved the virality that the “WingIt2WinIt” contest hoped for, it’s just the appetizer of a broader paid social and search-driven campaign for the plant-based meatless brand that will run through 2022 on such platforms as Instagram, Pinterest, Instacart and Google. The brand also will do shopper-marketing promotions at Sam’s Club, Walmart and Target stores.

“Even after the sweepstakes is over, these videos will live on as a way of driving awareness and consideration among non-vegans as well as vegans,” said Taylor Michelle Gerard, Blue Hour’s vp of content and creative.

Emily Klooster, head of marketing for LikeMeat’s parent company LiveKindly Collective, explained that the mass consumption of wings around the Super Bowl, as well as in the lead-up to March Madness — the second scariest time of year for chickens — is the perfect time to launch. To her thinking, TikTok made sense for two main reasons. “For one, it’s where more Americans get their recipe ideas these days,” she said. “Secondly, the unique behavior on TikTok — discovering challenges and figuring out something new — made it the perfect environment for people to find out about us.” 

Interestingly, Klooster said the food brand won’t be using TV advertising — usually a staple of any consumer packaged goods launch — anytime soon, for both cost reasons as well as changed consumer behaviors around meal planning. “So much of that conversion happens online these days,” she noted. But she stressed the timing of the campaign had to begin a few weeks before kickoff, “since people start to plan their meals for that night well in advance.”

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