The pretzel chain’s fake logo rebrand, an April Fools’ Day gag, landed the brand coverage in outlets where it wouldn’t usually feature.
Company: Auntie Anne’s
Campaign: April Fools’ Day “Rebrand”
Agency mix: Allison+Partners
Duration: April 1, 2017
Budget: $800 (cost of national wire distribution)
What would happen if Auntie Anne’s executives locked themselves in an escape room with millennials and Gen Zers for two years to come up with a new logo?
Of course the end-result would be heavily inspired by a popular Snapchat filter.
This is the fake rebrand scenario imagined by the pretzel brand for April Fools’ Day as a way to garner attention and, more specifically, get down with the kids.
Allison+Partners, the brand’s PR AOR, first proposed the idea of an April Fools’ Day stunt to Auntie Anne’s in January 2017.
The major goal of the campaign was for Auntie Anne’s to engage younger generations of customers, as well as show off the brand’s personality with a joke that would be low cost, but also humorous and highly visual.
“We wanted to generate earned media coverage in the absence of a product announcement or promotion and playfully engage with fans on our social channels,” said Chas Kurtz, PR manager at Auntie Anne’s.
The PR team from Allison+Partners worked with Auntie Anne’s internal team to design a new logo to replace the brand’s signature halo with a flower crown, based on Snapchat’s popular filter.
In terms of a media outreach strategy, the campaign team sought to land coverage in expanded verticals that would normally not have a reason to feature the brand, such as BuzzFeed and Jezebel.
The morning of April 1, Auntie Anne’s circulated a comical press release announcing the brand’s intention to rebrand its iconic halo logo in order to appeal to a younger generation. The brand team distributed the press release via national newswire and targeted both consumer and advertising trade media outlets with outreach efforts.
The release told the story of how Auntie Anne’s executives locked themselves in a room with youngsters for two years to come up with the new logo. The brand’s VP of marketing, Carol Pasquariello, noted in the release that the new logo is, “as the kids say, ‘lit.’”
“We noted that the rebranded logo and more information would be available on the brand’s website and social channels beginning April 1,” explained Lisa Rosenberg, chief creative officer and co-chair, of Allison+Partners’ consumer marketing practice. “Consumers who wanted to see the logo visited the brand’s owned channels, all of which had been changed to reflect the new logo.”
On social channels, the campaign team posted several visuals of the new logo, including a rendering of a brand location displaying the new logo and a photo of Auntie Anne’s founder, Anne Beiler, in a flower crown.
Auntie Anne’s distinctive April Fools’ Day stunt generated nearly 227 million media impressions, measured across both social and traditional outlets.
Media outreach efforts garnered 78 pieces of coverage in various outlets nationwide, with the “rebrand” being included in several top April Fools’ brand round-ups.
“National consumer outlets were the primary media target,” added Kurtz. “We were thrilled to earn coverage in BuzzFeed, Jezebel, NBC News, CNET, and RetailMeNot, as well as large, food-specific outlets like Food & Wine, Brand Eating, and The Daily Meal.”