And Then God Said, “Let There Be Chicken…”

Chicken For The Win

Chicken For The WinWho doesn’t love chicken? Everyone loves it, except for maybe vegetarians or people who are just generally miserable about life. But here at The Cyphers Agency, we couldn’t love chicken more. But it goes beyond our graphic designers eating some nuggets for an afternoon snack. We work with The National Chicken Council to promote… you guessed it… chicken!

While this partnership is anything but new, 2010 proved to be an extremely effective and extraordinary year in the life of this account. Adding social media into our mix over the past few years, we began the long journey down the road of social network promotion for this yummy food. And while we don’t mean to brag – okay, we mean to brag – we blasted this one out of the water.


Chicken is a unique ad animal (pun most definitely intended). Because of the nature of their brand, their goals are quite unique. Yes, they’d love to help boost the sales of chicken, but their primary objective is to increase awareness and get people to love it (which in turn gets people to buy it). This is our charge, and we are responsible day in and day out for encouraging conversations about chicken.

The Challenge

The National Chicken Council’s biggest challenge was two-fold: their old, outdated website in combination with their modest marketing dollars. Since people’s love for chicken spreads across the country, the NCC needed to reach a national audience on a not-so-national budget. We had to come up with a way to reach all the fans of chicken without breaking the piggy bank (don’t you just love all of my animal jokes here?).

The Awesomeness

ChickenWith this in mind, we helped the NCC create a cost-effective social media campaign that helped to get people talking about chicken. And trust me, there isn’t much more that people love to talk about than how much they love their food. So we got all close and cozy with chicken lovers where they were already spending time and interacting.

We used tactics such as low-budget Facebook ads to build an audience on Facebook and Twitter, and we reached out to online influencers to help us keep the conversation and content flowing. These social networking sites became hubs for all things chicken – funny videos, photos and polls along with recipes, cooking tips and gift card giveaways. And once we got a new, much more user-friendly website up for the National Chicken Council, we were able to leverage our awesomeness to drive traffic to the site.

Chicken For The Win!

While our awesome communities were soon teeming with all sorts of content, it all came back to one simple thing – folks just kept saying how much they freakin’ love chicken. We practiced what we preach about listening to our audience and developed the concept for a video contest around that very pledge of undying love.

In partnership with The National Chicken Council and El Pollo Loco, we challenged fans to prove how much they love chicken. A shiny new microsite housed all contest info – everything from rules to info about the fat cash prize to a page dedicated solely to entries. We were able to cut overhead costs by not using pricey software to run the contest and instead got our hands dirty, handling all the logistics in-house from tracking votes to answering questions to encouraging participants to get their friends and family to vote. Millions of impressions, thousands of votes and 34 unique video entries later, we’d generated serious online buzz for chicken and The National Chicken Council, as well as a ton of valuable user-generated content that we could use in the future.


The Results

The 2010 campaign helped grow our already fanatical following – we doubled Facebook likes (or fans, depending on what Facebook terminology you like to use). But we all know number of fans or followers doesn’t mean squat if there isn’t some serious interaction going on, fostering community and loyalty (yes, those might be annoying social media buzz words we hate to throw around but they are cliches for a reason). Gotta say, the level of engagement was intense during the contest, with voting giving everyone something to talk about. But even after the contest, we kept up the pace of fun, conversation-worthy content, so fans have kept on comin’ and keep on talkin’.

Integrated Campaign Boasts 53% Sales Increase


Save the Crabs!

Us Marylanders love the Chesapeake Bay. Many of us have grown up going to the shore, pushing our little brothers in the water. The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a non-profit that was established to protect the Bay and we love them for it. They do all sorts of awesome things to preserve the natural resources of the Bay and to educate people on treating the Bay with the respect it deserves. One of the things they do is sell Bay themed license plates. If you live in Maryland you know these plates, the ones with the blue heron and the crab. They’ve been a staple in Maryland for a long time and the proceeds from the plates go to helping protect the Bay.


Sales for the charming Bay Plates had stagnated due to lack of awareness from Marylanders. People were familiar with the look of the plates, but not sure what they were all about. How do I get one? Do I need to change my license plate number? Why do I want to pay more money? The people had questions and it was up to The Cyphers Agency to help get the answer out there. After setting our minds to the task (and doing a ton of target audience research) we devised a plan to bring awareness of Bay Plates to Marylanders. We would do a three pronged attack, covering all the necessary bases. The goal: 10% increase in sales. Maryland had no idea what they were in for.

Prong 1

We blanketed Maryland with messages from our friends at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Their goal? Educate people on how the Bay Plates help and where the money from each purchase goes. So, we did just that… with crabs. Each ad had a lovable crab (ok maybe not lovable, but certainly informative) giving our Maryland audience a fact about how money from the Bay Plates is put to use. Billboards, bus shelters, metro stations, mall kiosks; nothing was safe from our awareness-building crabs. We even wrapped a bus fender to fender with one of our crabs. We called it the Rolling-crabby-billboard-of-eye-catchiness. Pithy, I know.

Prong 2

This being the 21st Century, we unleashed our crabs to the bleeding edge of technology… The Internet! Through a series of online ads, we spread the Trust’s message around with geographically targeted instructions, specifically showing our informative crabs to people in Maryland. The ads directed our audience towards the Facebook fan page or the landing page we designed around the Bay Plates education concept. Between the two of them, the crabs snagged thousands of impressions for Chesapeake Bay Trust. This coupled with a great social media push made 2010 the year of the crab.

Prong 3

After perusing the state of Maryland and the Web, the crabs were more than ready for a little guerilla marketing. An ambient scavenger hunt contest called Hooray for the Bay was created to create brand participation and drive an offline audience to use mobile and web tools to interact. Fact wielding crabs were hidden all over Maryland. People were encouraged to find the signs and text in a picture of themselves with it for a chance to win some cold, hard cash. We leveraged Facebook to release clues and remind people of the prizes they could win.

The Result

By the end, we had used our crabs to create a fully integrated campaign, on and off the web. With thousands of visits to the Bay Plate website, close to 400 social media interactions, around 1,000 fans gained (with an average of 142 new fans per month), and close to 300 contest entries, we deem our Hooray for the Bay campaign an overwhelming success. And that goal of a 10% increase in sales, you ask? Turns out that our campaign helped sell 53% more Bay Plates than the previous year. Just doing our job.