Smokey and Pharell


When real-time marketers post up in front of the TV on an award season Sunday night, they may have a list of pre-written tweets and scenarios bouncing around in their minds to tie-in to their brands and campaigns. However, once you start planning you start to chip away at the magic — the Blackout Oreo Magic that we all hope for and can never see coming.

All you can really do is fire-up the Photoshop and track the conversation so you’re ready just in case the biggest music producer in the world wears a hat that looks like the hat of the bear you tweet for.

The 2014 Grammys and Pharrell Williams gave Smokey Bear a gift and HelpGood was ready to accept it, amplify it and make sure the whole world received that gift too — along with important wildfire prevention messages, of course. We generated images immediately featuring Smokey and Pharrell and jumped into the conversation.

When I say magic, this is what I mean:

Within 24 hours, Smokey’s Twitter followers grew by almost 25 percent. Organic search traffic to our campaign website,, increased by 123 percent. In total, there were more than 36,000 tweets about Smokey, resulting in more than 58.5 million impressions.

Almost immediately, the press began including Smokey in the night’s round-ups. By the next morning, more than 180 media outlets were talking about Smokey, including The Today ShowCNNBuzzfeedLos Angeles TimesNew York PostWall Street JournalNew York magazineNew York Daily NewsElleDaily BeastHuffington PostAdweekNPR, PeopleExtra TV and USA Today.

3 things to note here:
1) This is a social good, government campaign that surpassed the big brands to “win the night.”
2) The fact that our client completely trusted us and gave us the authority to publish without approval was essential. (A trust built over 3 years).
3) We had no extra budget for this, it’s apart of our standard community management fees. The ROI was unreal.

If you want even more great information on the story of Smokey Bear and the Grammys, read Meg Rushton’s post that includes tips on real-time marketing on Ad Council’s blog for social marketers.