Who would have thought our very own web developers would be the prime audience for a highly targeted digital promotion? When I saw our web and content marketing team display a major affinity for Halfpops’ “coder challenge,” I had to investigate the campaign.

Note: for those of you who aren’t snack food aficionados, Halfpops is a crunchy version of popcorn. They are halfway-popped, available in a variety of unusual flavors.

Hatched by Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Humanaut agency, Halfpops’ campaign got the attention of developers with their “Genius Plan to Survive the AI [Artificial Intelligence] Apocalypse” video.

The video directed developers to Halfpops’ microsite. There, it challenged them to solve three fairly easy coding tasks. As a result, the first 500 developers who accurately completed the assignment received a box from Halfpops. They promised the box would "contain a month’s worth of our signature snack [90 snack bags] intended for your entire dev team.”

As expected, our developers were up to the task. We were thrilled to receive the generous supply of Halfpops. It kept us snacking for several weeks, and Halfpops achieved their desired reaction: delight! Their sentiment: “Let’s not die together. You ninja-code and we’ll supply the Halfpops!”

[caption id="attachment_1465" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Halfpops delivery Halfpocalypse? No worries![/caption]

Initially, the messaging and target of the digital promotion seemed out of place until I opened the first snack bag: Caramel & Sea Salt. These odd-shaped, almost overgrown-kernel-looking snacks appeared as if they might break my tooth with one bite. Surprisingly, they were a nice, tender crunch of bold flavor. Since they are gluten-free, non-GMO and contain, as Halfpops states, “Nada Negative Stuff,” they are a relatively healthy snack.

That's when I made the positioning connection. This little snack company was highly innovative; I had never tasted any snack like it. Is it popcorn? Kind of. Is it quirky? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. Everything a new brand (on shelves since April 2011) with a unique position should be: innovative with product, and innovative with their marketing message and execution. Plus, who better to target with a snack-innovation message than those on the front lines of innovation: web developers.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs." This is one of our favorite quotes from legendary management consultant Peter Drucker. Check the boxes on both for #halfpops!

A Digital Promotion Can Be Effective Without Busting the Budget


A digital promotion, especially one designed to go viral on social media, can be relatively inexpensive to execute. From my inventory, Halfpops created only a handful of assets: a microsite, a video, a few email templates, a cool box design, and a couple of awesome package inserts. They did an excellent job with each of these. Also, their cost of 500 boxes of free Halfpops is low. The rest is organic, user-generated content — sharing, posting and/or media mentions.

[caption id="attachment_1473" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Inexpensive - yet effective - Halfpops campaign assets. Inexpensive - yet effective - campaign assets.[/caption]

Kudos to Humanaut, and kudos to Halfpops for allowing its agency to execute a well-crafted, genius creative campaign.

#halfpops and #humanaut — we’d love to hear the results of your campaign by commenting below this post. Great job!