Old-fashioned food sampling taps into social media

I love out of the box thinking. Better yet, I really dig it when companies stomp up and down on the box and then run away from it at lightening speed. This month, I was delighted to see a brand that was shaking up things big time. 

The team at Pretzel Crisps is giving out tons of free food. Forget setting up a sampling table at the local market, this is guerrilla marketing at its best. They're monitoring people's tweets and then responding with an offer that cannot be refused. Below is a typical exchange from the company's Twitter account (click the image to enlarge it). Notice that the woman isn't even talking about Pretzel Crisps; that is the beauty of this conversation.

Not only is Pretzel Crisp offering people free product, they deliver it right to your front door! No coupons to redeem. No shipping. A cheery, peppy person brings the goodies to your home or office within 24 hours. How cool is that?

Luckily, I was on the receiving end of a Pretzel Crisps delivery. Paige showed up with three big bags of snacks; each tote stuffed with seven different flavors. The idea being that I would keep one bag and give away the other two so my friends and family could sample the product (I particularly enjoyed the Garlic Parmesan and the Cinnamon Toast varieties).

I was so impressed with the brand's promotional campaign, I asked Paige a bit more about it. Apparently, free delivery is offered in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Orange County, Boston, New Jersey, and New York. The marketing folks realize the power of social media and that people rely on their friends and networks for personal recommendations. They know the product would benefit from some good word of mouth, and what better way to do that than to let people sample the low-cal, baked snacks themselves.

Is the campaign working? Well, you know this isn't a food blog, but I'm writing about pretzels. Pretzels! But, more than that, I'm writing about a brand that really gets it. Pretzel Crisps is steering online conversations, creating buzz, fostering goodwill, and establishing relationships.

With the economy still bad, spending down, and many businesses in a tailspin, the folks at Pretzel Crisps are making a bold move by breaking from traditional marketing and advertising. Who needs to buy an ad in Family Circle or Shape, when regular people can talk about their first-hand experience with your product? Booyah!


  1. I think this is a lesson about social media that we can all learn from. So often we put stuff out there in hopes of getting a reaction, but we forget about trying proactive tactics like this.

    How many of us set up alerts to get notifications about keywords or our brand? (I know I do). But we rarely take matters into our own hands and actively search twitter streams for people to reach out to and interact with.

    Pretzel Crisps has shown how impressed folks are when you hunt them down without being asked. It's a unique and creative tactic I'm cetainly going to try and incorporate into my marketing strategy a little more.

    Nice post as usual Amber.

    - Chris

  2. Thanks, Chris!

    You hit the nail on the head. The brand is being proactive. Something that so many companies just don't do. They wait for business to come to them instead of hustling for it.

    That's why I was so impressed with this campaign. That team has a bunch of go-getters who are "making" it happen instead of "waiting" for it to happen. Something every smart business should be doing in this economy, but, instead, most are being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

    And the thing is, I'm a total fan now. I hadn't tried Pretzel Crisps before and now I drool at the mere thought of the Garlic Parmesan flavored ones. It's my new snack of choice. How powerful is that, right?

    Thanks so much for adding to the conversation, Chris!

  3. That is brilliant!! Have you heard of House Party? I don't even know whom it's sponsored by, but you apply to host "parties" featuring various products.

    I was selected to do one for DiGiornio that I held as a spring break kick off with where I invited about 20 families to the park. This fall, I got selected to do one tied to the season premiere of Clone Wars for my young son.

    They provide product, party favors, party ideas and then coupons for attendees. Of course they encourage you to discuss via social media. Sort of like a tupperware party with a friend or neighbor as brand champion but there's nothing to buy. I find it brilliant!

  4. Hi Cathie, thanks for chiming in!

    No, I haven't heard of House Party. Sounds like a great idea. I bet you were all your friends' favorite person after the party! Yowza!

    Who is actually the sponsor of House Party? Or is it run by an agency since it includes several different products?

  5. Glad to hear you were able to sample the product too, MaryAnne! I just think it's a genius approach.

    The people over there running their promotions need a big raise. And, it's funny. So many companies are still doubting the power of social media. Inquiring about the ROI and saying it all isn't worth it.

    However, as you say, here we are talking about Pretzel Crisps. All because those pretzel people seized the opportunity to shape the online discussion about their product. Brillliant.

    Thanks so much for joining the discussion, MaryAnne! :-)

  6. I love Pretzel Crisps! I was so surprised to receive a hand delivery! I thought I was going to get some in the mail. Crazy! And it's yummy! They really are doing a great job using social media. Here we are, writing about pretzels! Ha ha! :-)

  7. I agree, Beth. You're right.

    Other companies are offering samples, but the approach is night and day from what Pretzel Crisps is doing. If you look at their Twitter responses, they reply to the most random tweets. Someone saying they are packing their kid's lunch or wondering what to get from the vending machine. That's why I think it's so incredible. They are actively scouring Twitter to find potential customers. I just think it's brilliant.

    Thanks so much for chiming in, Beth!

  8. Several companies have increased their sampling programs via facebook, etc. You can receive a sample just by filling out your address, etc. However, you have to search them out yourself. I've never heard of such an aggressive campaign being implemented! Kudos to Pretzel Crisps for reaching out to possible new customers in such a way!

  9. Seriously, right? I just think their campaign is so smart.

  10. I actually gave away the other two bags already. Sorry! :-(

  11. It must be an agency. Here is their website. I get emails every few weeks seeing if I am interested in the party and then fill out a questionnaire. Super fun when I get selected.


  12. Interesting! Thanks for sharing, Cathie! ;-)

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