What made Weetabix baked beans a viral hit – from the agency behind it

The viral Weetabix and baked beans meme was successful because it combined much-needed humour and a sense of 'debatability', the boss of the agency behind the meme has told PRWeek.

The post from Weetabix's Twitter account, featuring an image of the breakfast cereal covered in Heinz Baked Beans, led to a barrage of responses from other brands and organisations:

Even police forces, the NHS and GCHQ posted humourous responses:

The Weetabix activity was handled by Frank PR, whose managing director, Alex Grier, told PRWeek that as of last night, more than 140 organisations had engaged with the post. It has also been covered in numerous media titles.

Grier said the origins of the campaign date back to November, when the agency posted a recipe for chicken coated in coating of crushed Weetabix and breadcrumbs.

"We did it for social, for a bit of fun, and it got picked up in The Sun. We recognised that food combos always get talked about. We always planned that, for this February, we were going to do a series of interesting, strange pairings of combos.

"The zeitgeist is, we're six weeks in [to lockdown], people are looking for some humour, some fun, a bit of light relief, you've got a topic that people always talk about in food combos – and then we just introduced that 'man bites dog' twist, which is a very debatable food combo."

He said the debate element can be seen in the Good Morning Britain segment today, in which the topic was raised of how such a combination could not work, seeing as the beans could play the same role as milk in softening the Weetabix.

Grier said: "Any good story that really takes off needs to have that debatability, that believability, that 'Would you, wouldn't you?' – you have beans on toast, why wouldn't you have beans on Weetabix? That sort of thought process starts to divide the nation. You have Weetabix purists who are: 'Absolutely not,' and you have other people who are thinking: 'Why wouldn't you?'

"Our social team did the most phenomenal job. As more and more brands piled it, this led to a whole day of banter as everyone got stuck in."

Grier said the campaign was all organic, with no paid social, and Weetabix is "thrilled" with the results.

Frank PR has worked with Weetabix for about nine years in total. The agency shifted about 18 months ago from being the brand's consumer PR shop to its lead creative and social agency.

How the industry responded

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