- Russell Stover, the chocolate maker owned by Lindt & Sprüngli, is urging users of social video app TikTok to join the "world's biggest virtual hug" as the coronavirus pandemic keeps people apart. The brand enlisted Jason Coffee, the TikTok star with 18.4 million followers of his family videos, to promote the effort, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Russell Stover is asking TikTok users to participate in the campaign by creating their own videos and captioning them with the #worldsbiggestvirtualhug, #quarantine, #healthheroes and #russellstover hashtags. The chocolatier will highlight some of the videos on its social channels and feature the virtual hug on Instagram.
- In addition, Russell Stover is donating chocolate to hospitals in select cities to thank healthcare workers for their hard work during the pandemic in honor of National Nurses Week, which runs May 6-12.
Russell Stover's campaign on TikTok is an extension of a digital effort that urged people to send each other "virtual hugs" as the coronavirus pandemic dissuades physical contact. By enlisting an influencer like Jason Coffee, Russell Stover can extend the reach of the campaign to millions of TikTok users. The #worldsbiggestvirtualhug hashtag generated more than 700,000 views as of press time, and that could grow as people create videos and urge others to join in.
The effort includes an earlier collaboration with GIF-sharing company Giphy to let people send virtual hugs to each other. The chocolatier created a catalog of GIF video clips for people to share on social media with the hashtag #MakeHappy as part of the broader national campaign.
Russell Stover has been active on social media this year as the company seeks to raise awareness after a dormant period lasting more than two decades without a major creative campaign. For Easter, which is typically is the biggest time of year for gifting chocolate, Russell Stover created "The Great Bunny Hunt" to challenge Instagram users to find chocolate bunnies hidden in photos posted to its account. The company offered Instagram users a chance to win a year of free candy and send a gift to a loved one.
Russell Stover is the latest brand to run a campaign on TikTok, whose lifetime global downloads hit 2 billion in Q1 as people boosted mobile usage during the pandemic, researcher Sensor Tower estimated. Warner Bros. this week launched a dance challenge on the app to promote the video-on-demand (VOD) release of animated movie "Scoob!," while Chipotle Mexican Grill, E.l.f. Cosmetics, the National Football League and Walmart also have run hashtag challenges to engage homebound consumers.