On 11 November 2013, Pocky (a Japanese brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks) set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of tweets about a brand in 24 hours: an unprecedented 3,710,044 tweets. Pocky chose the date due to its special significance for the brand, as it looks like four upright Pockys in a row: 1111.
We worked together with Twitter Japan to analyse how the record-breaking campaign unfolded.
The campaign kicked off on 5 November 2013, with a teaser tweet from the official Pocky Twitter account @PockyPretz11, showing a Pocky fan bearing the characters for “sure victory”, introducing the hashtag #ポッキー1111 (#Pocky1111), and hinting at an attempt to break a world record. This initial tweet picked up more than 150 retweets, providing an initial burst of awareness that there was something big coming up on 11 November.
The Pocky tweet that started it all
By 10 November 2013, the campaign was already gaining traction, with 460,000 Pocky related tweets getting people warmed up for the record day itself. Anticipation grew steadily during the evening, from about 6pm through to midnight. At 00:01, on 11 November 2013, @PockyPretz11 sent its first tweet kick-starting the Guinness World Record attempt. Following an initial peak at midnight, and after a night’s sleep, participation grew steadily throughout the day, peaking again at 9pm.
The call to action tweet was RTed almost 140,000 times
While Pocky’s midnight tweet was the most shared message of the day, other original messages from both Pocky and individual users, containing emojis, ASCII art, images, Vine videos, references to anime/manga characters, web comics or the Pocky Game drove engagement with the campaign throughout the day. As the day progressed, participation shifted from original content to lower engagement RTs.
Volume peaks were driven by individual heavily-retweeted messages. Our analysis shows that just 5 messages drove 20% of the RTs on the day:
Most-shared messages of the campaign
Although Pocky’s participation largely stopped within 2 hours of the world record attempt finishing, they seeded enough messages and gained enough user-generated content for the campaign to be sustained for the whole 24 hours.
Volume of Pocky-related tweets by day
On November 15, Pocky confirmed it had broken a new Guinness World Record on #PockyDay1111 – with a tweet, of course.
Pocky’s Guinness World Record break announcement
We animated the network dynamics of the day in a timelapse video showing how the campaign spread on Twitter throughout the day, from 10 November 11.30PM to 12 November 1AM. The visualisation shows which Twitter accounts drove the most engagement and at what point during the day.
Each ‘node’ represents one Tweet, and its size represents its visibility. Visibility is a Pulsar proprietary algorithm that takes into account the nature of the Tweet, the reach of the Tweet, and the engagement it generated in terms of replies, favourites and retweets.
Our analysis reveals a few key learnings from Pocky’s success:
Cultural relevance is key
Pocky is already an extremely popular brand in Japan and the product is very easy to purchase, so it was easy for people to get involved, as there was no lack of awareness or availability to overcome.
Keep barriers to participation low
People didn’t have to think up anything clever to say, they could just tweet “I ate some Pocky” or simply retweet. Ability to participate at scale is also relevant – people could tweet or retweet hundreds of times and this legitimately counted towards the record.
Tap into existing cultural codes
Pocky had a pre-existing suite of memes around it (the Pocky Game, where people eat Pocky with a friend, and ASCII art depicting the snack food). Consequently people ‘knew what to do’ when Pocky Day arrived – they didn’t have to work out what to say from scratch.
Use visuals to boost engagement
Almost all top re-tweeted messages contained images: @PockyPretz11’s specially created images and Vine videos for the campaign, user-generated photos of themselves playing the Pocky Game and anime and web comic images referencing Pocky.
Finding and bringing the right influencers on board with your campaign is critical to its success. In Pocky’s case the influencers were people in anime/manga fandoms who proactively produced high quality visual content (sketches, comics), which inspired people to retweet.
Cross-overs with other events on the day
Coincidental cross-overs with other events that day, e.g. anime character Azunyan’s birthday provided another spur for people to create content.
Lead the discussion
The @PockyPretz11 Twitter account successfully drove the discussion throughout the day, receiving far more retweets than any other account and ranking top for visibility (reach).
If you’d like to find out how Pulsar can help you optimise your social media engagement strategy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.