What Brands can Learn from Kohl’s and Chewbacca Mom

Published on May 26th, 2016

by Jack Weinstein

Chewbacca Mom illustrates the power of social marketing.

If you’re unfamiliar, Grand Prairie, Texas, woman Candace Payne posted a four-minute Facebook Live video on May 19. In it, Payne unveils a birthday present she bought for herself. A $20 Chewbacca mask that makes Wookiee noises when the wearer opens her mouth. Sounds kind of meh, right?

Think again. Her cackles could bring a smile to even the grumpiest of faces. If you haven’t seen it, you’re one of the few. The video has racked up nearly 6 million actions (likes, comments and shares) on Facebook and more than 148 million views, and counting.

Its the most-engaged Facebook post so far this year , generating more actions than posts from Vin Diesel and Ronaldo , and even Tasty’s Churro Ice Cream Bowls video recipe . That’s some elite company. (It’s also the most-engaged Facebook Live video to date.)

But that’s not the most important part of the story. What happened next is.

Kohl’s, astutely, followed up with Payne. They brought Payne and her family more Chewbacca masks, “Star Wars” toys, a $2,500 Kohl’s gift certificate and 10,000 rewards points. And they filmed it and posted the video on Facebook.



That post has generated more than 1.3 million actions and 32 million views, by far Kohls top social media post ever . The next most-engaged post, a photo from September 2015 , generated about a one-third of that engagement total.

Kohl’s also posted a photo with Payne and her children wearing their Chewbacca masks a day before the video was released. The photo is the retailer’s third most-engaged post ever with more than 290,000 actions.

Combined, the two Facebook posts featuring Payne generated nearly 1.6 million actions, making it a more engaged social campaign than Kohl’s Academy Awards sponsorship and its partnerships in conjunction with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last fall.

Kohl’s generated nearly 88,000 actions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with posts related to the Oscars in February. “Star Wars” posts on those platforms using the hashtag #ForceOfFamily drove engagement for Kohl’s in Q4 2015, but generated just more than 572,000 actions by comparison.

To look at it another way, those two posts with Payne, whose life has taken a star turn , have generated 42% of Kohl’s 3.8 million actions year to date on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not bad for an impromptu campaign that cost them $2,500 and a handful of toys.

Retailers and other brands obviously can’t wait for posts about their products to go viral, but they can encourage their audiences to mention them and provide reviews. And when posts do break the internet, there’s a ton of value in following up, saying thanks and even bringing along a few gifts—as Kohl’s illustrated.

Find out what drives people to share social content by downloading our How to Make Content Shareable webinar.

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