👀Brandwatch: Moonpie – how a 100- year-old brand mastered the art of being cool

⏳ 5 minute read.

MoonPie is a 103-year-old company that has an unexpectedly compelling and edgy brand voice thanks to its whimsical Twitter account.

The secret ingredient? CHARACTER.

In my head, this is how I imagine the Moonpie Twitter guy. But more on that later.

How did it all start?

It’s important to delve into the brand’s history to understand the evolution of its brand voice. Once upon a time in 1917, the MoonPie was a little snack (sandwich of graham crackers with marshmallow filling, covered with a waxy coating of chocolate) cake bought at the country store bought by the humble coal-miner.

MoonPie was comfort food for soldiers of World War II as it became a staple in their care-packages. When America experienced a Baby Boom after the war, parents would give their children MoonPies – to this day Boomers still recall their fond childhood memories of this.

So how did this brand strike a balance between being a traditional wholesome snack and being one of the coolest brands on social media?

Who is the MoonPie Twitter guy?

MoonPie’s tweets are written from the perspective of a young guy (almost like a Napoleon Dynamite kind of character) with a weird, self-deprecating sense of humour in charge of a small-time brand’s Twitter account. This “MoonPie Twitter guy” character writes with a distinctly generation Z or young millennial perspective and tone.

MoonPie’s self-deprecating Twitter character places itself as an underdog brand – and everyone always roots for the underdog. This approachable and personable quality encourages people to connect to it emotionally.

Being topical

The latest tweet is an excellent example of how it taps into a current topic that has NOTHING to do with the marshmallow biscuit but yet still manages to engage its current followers as well as new ones. The ‘alien-like’ text format alongside the blunt and direct edgy tone of voice stops people from scrolling, is shareable and most importantly, isn’t commonly seen on Twitter streams.

It not only speaks to its current followers but also now attracts new followers (people from Venus!) – so it targets those newbies in a creative and out-the-box way proving that you really don’t need to churn out ‘Follower Friday’ tweets.

Replies

MoonPie takes pride in replying to people (even the trolls) and this is what really brings a brand’s personality to life. It’s particularly known for its one-word replies.

This tweet below (from its competitor) contributed to MoonPie going viral:

The MoonPie Twitter guy character even frequently mentions his ex (Linda). These tweets are hilariously unique because they create an ongoing narrative – one that many of its followers can probably relate to.

The character even posts extracts from its ‘fictional’ diary over on Instagram:

Here’s a few sassy examples below of MoonPie connecting with its audiences – this brand can get away with being passive-aggressive because this approach has been carefully baked into its marketing strategy and social media presence since 2009. It’s not the kind of approach a brand can just master overnight.

Keeping it classic

Even when it publishes specific content about its products, it makes it obvious that it knows its being cliche (Starbucks pumpkin spice anyone?) It feels like MoonPie are testing the water with content like this – like they almost know that it won’t be well-received with its existing customers – once they react (sometimes negatively) they quickly revert back to being witty and less promotional on social media.

In a nutshell

MoonPie’s brand character takes tone of voice to the next level. Rather than simply creating social media posts that reflect a particular tone of voice, MoonPie posts content that reflects the voice of a particular character, an individual who embodies the brand’s social media presence., an actual person we can imagine talking to.

What would motivate a conservative, centennial brand, widely considered to be an icon of the South, to suddenly get all spaced out on social media, surely a risky and bold move for any company?

It took a lot of soul-searching,” admits MoonPie’s marketing Jedi Johnston. “We needed a plan to inspire a younger generation to enter the brand without diminishing the loyalty of our older base.”

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