Community Management, Content Marketing, Social Media Measurement, Social Media Strategy, Brand Communities, Social Media Optimization

Crystal Light Challenged Getting Ready For Bikini Season

Guest post by @Lisa Loeffler, Research & Analysis Lead at Convince & Convert. She is also founder and principal of Genuine Media, a marketing agency that helps clients build their individual and brand reputation through social media.

It started out innocently when I saw Crystal Light’s new TV commercial last month.

After rewinding it a handful of times and rolling in my personal laughter I thought it was funny enough to share. I grabbed the footage on my iPhone and loaded it up on YouTube.

Watch the video now to follow along on this post.

Like many other social media marketers you need to know a bit about SEO. And after loading the video to my YouTube channel I ran through my mental check list to optimize the title, description, tags etc. I even added a poll question for a little extra fun in the video description: “If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would you want to have the most?

The next day out of curiosity I checked the views. I was pretty surprised to have more than 300 hits in 24 hours and 50 visits to my website. Pretty good stats as Crystal Light’s YouTube video only had 1,490 hits and they’d loaded their video 13 days before I did.

Today, seven weeks later, I have approximately 36K hits with 116 likes, 42 dislikes and a lot of comments – many of which I’ve had to remove for their surprising illicit content.

I attribute my video’s success mainly to optimizing my YouTube video, because through some searches (in which I logged out of Google) my video usually comes up number one for the terms “Crystal Light Commercial,” “Crystal Light Bikini Beach,” “Crystal Light Plane Crash Commercial.”

Below you can see the difference in the meta titles, description, tags, etc. between Crystal Light’s and mine. Initially when Crystal Light posted the video, they had no link directing visitors to their Facebook page. This was added approximately three weeks after the video was uploaded around the middle of January.

Crystal Light Commercial lacking SEO optimization and campaign detail.

Crystal Light YouTube SEO

My Commercial, SEO Optimized:

Crystal Light Lisa Loeffler SEO YouTube

Curious to see what other people were saying about the commercial, I headed over to Crystal Light’s Facebook and Twitter sites.

When I landed on Crystal Light’s Facebook page I saw this fan gate…

But not until after liking Crystal Light’s page did I see this fan gate…where Crystal Light asks viewers to vote on the commercial’s ending. You can read the ending here.

Crystal Light Welcome Facebook Contest

I checked their Facebook wall and discovered they were promoting the contest regularly there…

Crystal Light Wall Post

As well as on Twitter…

Crystal Light Commercial Twitter 1

But as an initial non-Crystal Light Facebook fan landing on their welcome page I was confused.

I, and I’m sure several thousands more, didn’t see the Crystal Light Challenge campaign reveal until after liking Crystal Light’s Facebook page. I wonder if they lost other people in the transition, especially those who didn’t know they had to like Crystal Light’s page in order to participate in the campaign after being directed from YouTube, Twitter or just casually landing on their campaign page.

That’s why it’s always important to test your campaigns before they go live. If possible, utilize some people outside your organization and others who may not be readily familiar with your brand so you can gain more audience perspective.

Crystal Light Challenge Campaign Overview

What they got right:

  • Shock Value. Don’t over think the plane crash bit – this video is fabulously funny!
  • Takes you to the fantasy and out of every-day life.
  • Creates controversy and passion. People love it OR hate it!
  • Attempt at social media integration – but doesn’t hit the mark.

What they could have improved:

  • Add CTA (Call-to-Action) at end of TV commercial to drive viewers to Facebook promo landing page
  • Push out official press release or SMR (social media release) to tease it
  • Promote “Crystal Light Challenge” commercial on website
  • Enhance YouTube SEO description and tags
  • Drive people to “Crystal Light Challenge” landing page with Facebook/Twitter Ads or retargeting program.

What they got wrong:

  • Bury the promo behind the fan gate on Facebook. You can’t see the promo until you “like” Crystal Light’s Facebook page.
  • Non-Fans who visit via Twitter are directed to the fan gate page asking them to join the Crystal Light community – Again no mention of the promo on fan gate prior to “Liking” page
  • Poor SEO optimization of YouTube video
    • Title, tags, description lack depth for optimized search
    • A little too late: They initially didn’t have a URL to drive people to Facebook, but added the link approximately 3 weeks after video launch.

I’m sure Kraft spent thousands of dollars hiring a creative agency, scheduling TV airtime, developing campaign graphics and utilizing their social media marketing team. But they failed to take full advantage of the entire tool chest to promote their ad and just picked a few – Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.

If they had taken the time to integrate their campaign across more channels, they may have experienced media success similar to Old Spice – The Man You Could Smell Like.

Take away:

Don’t make art for art’s sake.

When you develop an advertising campaign for your brand, step back and take a look at all the channels you can re-atomize your creative content to grab the most eyeballs.

Incorporate a strategic blend of social media, SEO, your PR and social teams, website, email and other channels you think (through research and testing) will get you in front of your customers and potential new customers.

Remember to develop a list of success metrics for your campaign (comments, reposts, downloads, forwards, RTs, etc.) and standardize your list against future campaigns so you’re measuring apples to apples.

If you do…You’re likely to come up with bigger success and more profits.

Facebook Comments


  1. MarsdenAssoc says

    Super analysis, Lisa!  Interesting how you could outperform the brand itself on social media and use it to educate readers on the things to not overlook….and of course showcase the awesome talent at C&C.  Congrats and thanks – I’ve already shared this with several clients that hopefully will benefit from the lesson.

  2. says

    Really good analysis. Every time I see the “you must like our page in order to do X” gateway I back out. Feels terribly manipulative and seems to serve only the interests of the agency or internal marketer who is clearly being measured by the number of likes to that account. Time for that little mechanism to die a well earned death, IMHO.

    • says

       @Sean McGinnis Thanks Sean. I appreciate your thoughts. Yes, the “Like this page” initiative has been very well played – especially to social marketers who don’t measure likes and follows as social ROI.

  3. frankjoswald says

    Great points here, especially about gateways. But I’m a little confused: Crystal Light’s YouTube post appears to have double the hits (75,762) and a better like-to-dislike ratio. So how did you outperform? Also, are there copyright issues with simply “grabbing footage” and posting them on YouTube like this? 

    • says

       @frankjoswald Hi Frank,  Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Crystal Light was driving a combined 450+K  Facebook and Twitter fans to their commercial on a daily basis over the period of about a month, so naturally they’re video will have a majority of likes because viewers of their video were likely brand fans. 
      Individuals who watched my video found it through organic search, SEO and me sharing it with a few thousands followers. Though I don’t have the total views on the board as Crystal Light does – my video was not initially a marketing campaign, but something fun I wanted to share with friends. 
      I think the views from my video and the amount of promotion I put around it compared to Crystal Light deem it a success.
      Crystal Light’s video and my video each currently have about 9 pages of comments – so we’re pretty equal there. I have an email alert set to the account so I receive all the comments. I’ve actually had to remove about 25 comments that were very distasteful. I posted a non-tolerance clause to the wall about three weeks ago, and seems to have squelched that issue. 
      I actually was in touch with Crystal Light’s community manager through this campaign, as well as their integrated marketing manager who said “We are thrilled that you have posted the Crystal Light commercial on your YouTube channel.”

      • chriskanski says

        @LisaLoeffler @frankjoswald Has Crystal Light mentioned to you if they’ll be implementing any of your suggestion? Just curious.

        • says

           @chriskanski  @LisaLoeffler  @frankjoswald  Chris – No, they haven’t. Crystal Light even had a meet-and-greet  event on their Facebook wall with the creative team who developed the commercial. I (of course) asked some questions about integration — but respectful, because I already surmised that it wasn’t an integrated campaign. I thought this was a great idea for Crystal Light to host the creative agency on their wall with a Q&A – but sadly most people asked how they could get free samples and weren’t interested in picking the brain of the creatives.  

      • says

         @LisaLoeffler This is further proof why legislation such as SOPA and PIPA are bad for everyone, because Kraft’s letting you steal their stuff and remarket it is contrary to that legislation and would put all of you out of business.

  4. LisaMLoeffler says

    @Twylah Thanks for the RT Kelly! Hope you’re doing well. I know…We still need to chat/meet! Have a fantastic weekend! :)

      • LisaMLoeffler says

        @CutlerDave Really thank you. Hope that sun kicks thru for you this weekend. Brrr. Looks cold on the East Coast. 😉

  5. RobNielsen says

    What a fantastic post, @LisaLoeffler ! Even better to hear ( from the comments below ) that Crystal Light’s Community Manager connected with you — amazing how a few simple steps, and additional forethought, would have made this campaign that much stronger for them. Congrats on demonstrating “how it’s done”!

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