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The Little Hashtag That Trended Nationally

Author: Mark Hillman | Executive Creative Director Jan. 20, 2014

If you’re a brand on Twitter, the Holy Grail is to do something that trends, then sit back and watch the impressions come rolling in. On January 13, we helped DiGiorno have that Holy Grail moment.

At 11:40 a.m., we created a tweet from the @DiGiornoPizza Twitter handle that featured the hashtag #PizzaMovieLines (http://goo.gl/6qcuX3). That hashtag managed to trend nationally for more than four hours through the afternoon. When all the dust settled, social impressions of @DiGiornoPizza + #PizzaMovieLines totaled 3.7 million. More than 6,000 tweets leveraging the hashtag #PizzaMovieLines were created, resulting in a total of 22 million impressions.

Here are some insights on how we pulled this off:

1. We were timely.
January 13 was the Monday after the Golden Globes. Movies were on everyone’s mind. Instead of trying to change the conversation to something we wanted to talk about, we made the conversation a little better by just being us.

2. We made it easy.
Everyone has a couple of movie lines they love. (Or if you’re a guy, fifty.) And everyone can replace one word of that line with the word “pizza.” So guess what? Everyone gets to play. And play quickly.

3. We didn’t use the brand name in the hashtag.
This is a tough one for most brands. But on Twitter, that just doesn’t play. Had we made the hashtag #DiGiornoPizzaMovieLines, it would have fallen flat. We would have been trying too hard to be cool. And no one wants to see that. By creating and being the sole owner of the hashtag #PizzaMovieLines, every time someone clicked on it, the DiGiorno account was featured. That’s how you win.

4. We were patient.
What happened on January 13 was the result of an 18-month effort to cultivate a following based on funny, playful, and observational tweets—not offers or PR statements. In the beginning, it was slow. A lot of great tweets never popped. And then, slowly but surely, we started getting more retweets. More favorites. More mentions. Then The Sound of Music Live thing happened (http://goo.gl/s6l8AJ)—and that changed everything. Had we dropped #PizzaMovieLines before our success with The Sound of Music Live, it probably wouldn’t have trended. But thanks to that momentum, we now have a spotlight and influence. When we tweet at Phil Jackson (http://goo.gl/OtfouV), he tweets back.

5. We have the brand’s trust.
To win on Twitter, we have to be fast. That’s why we sat down with DiGiorno a while back and created some guidelines for our tweets—things we should stay away from. And then something magical happened: They gave us the keys to tweet whenever we want. About whatever we want. Without brand approval. And that’s half the battle right there.

6. We embrace the ridiculousness.
Twitter is a crazy place. Where else can you garner more than 25 million impressions with the headline “Go Ahead, Make My Pizza #PizzaMovieLines”? So we gave up trying to make the Twitter-verse play by the rules of our brands. Instead, we help our brands play by Twitter rules.

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