In case you didn’t step outside or turn on your phone on Monday, the total solar eclipse passed through our skies, leaving us with great memories—and even greater social media content. But there was one thing that was missing: any conversation from sugar-free gum company, Eclipse. Our team would have recommended an integrated marketing strategy leveraging the eclipse image on the packaging to align with the worldwide social media trend around the recent solar eclipse—the first solar eclipse since the brand was created.
Wrigley is the holding company for Eclipse Gum and owns several other gum brands including Hubba Bubba, Big Red, Doublemint, Extra, Juicy Fruit, and Orbit. After searching through all of social media, Wrigley does not have a Facebook or Twitter page for Eclipse. We did observe that Wrigley has separate Facebook and Twitter pages for their other gum companies, but not one for Eclipse. And although Eclipse Gum doesn’t have its own Facebook or Twitter, social media still mentioned the brand many days leading up to the solar eclipse, as seen in Tweets like these:
In addition to thousands of tweets, there were many photos and videos of people using Eclipse Gum packaging to make glasses that were needed to properly view the Solar Eclipse without damaging an individual’s eye. Several thousands of people began to make the joke that they had already made their own version of “Eclipse Glasses” to help them with the national event. These pictures began to flood individuals’ timelines and take over social media platforms for the day, with one video receiving over 433k views.
Brands have an opportunity to leverage current trends and social media attention, and with proper planning and content calendars, they can create powerful stories relevant to today’s culture.
“Newsjacking” is a common practice for brands as they use current events or breaking news stories to generate attention—something Eclipse Gum could’ve used to its advantage with videos, engaging content, and product advertisements.
There are tools to show global trends in search and social mentions, like Google Trends. Brands can use this to predict patterns and inform their marketing strategies around trends and seasonality. For example, below is a Google Trends chart depicting the global interest for Eclipse Gum over the past five years:
The major spike in interest recently was a result of August 21, 2017, or the day of the Solar Eclipse. This has been the greatest spike in interest for Eclipse Gum since 2013.
Although Eclipse Gum sales number may have gone up from social media users buying gum for their posts, a planned strategy to execute this phenomenon would have garnished positive PR and brand awareness for Eclipse. We can look back on this as a lesson to other companies that it is important to find vital moments to leverage the masses into a marketing homerun. As marketers, we always have to be on the look out for opportunities to grow our company in the future, even if these events occur once every hundred years.