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Breaking the Mould: Creative Content Marketing Tactics from Brands on Social Media

By Shannon Correia on 10 October 2023

To stand out from the crowd, some brands are taking the leap to be braver with their brand personality on social media in order to make more memorable and meaningful connections with audiences. For some businesses, that means allowing your marketing team to take a rogue approach with casual, humorous and tongue-in-cheek commentary.

In this article, we’ll be looking at how brands are standing out for their wild social media accounts as part of their creative content marketing strategy.


Finding A New Voice

For decades, brands have created prescribed personalities which tightly define what brands can and can’t say. Often, all communication has to be approved by management. This approval process helps ensure that the brand's identity is consistently professional and that risks to its reputation are minimised. However, more and more brands are breaking free from the confines of traditional brand-speak by adopting a tone that is more aligned with how their audiences typically communicate. This casual, tongue-in-cheek tone is not just a creative content marketing experiment, but an approach which is outlined in their brand guidelines. It can be a hit or miss, and garner higher engagement rates when it’s carried out well.

Let’s take a look at how some brands have adopted an ‘unhinged’ tone of voice and social media marketing strategy.


Duolingo Can Lingo With the Cool Kids

The language-learning app, which features an owl as its mascot, has gained popularity by inserting itself into various social media conversations. In fact, you may have noticed Duo in the comment section on random videos already.

@queenlaurenjack Reply to @wild.media my experience w the comment queen @Duolingo ⚡️💕💖 #duolingo#bestcomments#mileycyrus#morningtalkswithlauren#amomentinmylife♬ Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) - Edison Lighthouse

Duo is known for adding commentary to all kinds of posts, gaining itself a large fan base. On their Instagram account, they’ve even managed to bring trends from TikTok that poke fun at trending conversations like “tube girl’s confidence.” The result is a relatable, funny, and front-of-mind brand that continues to grow.


Ryanair Confronts Their Own Criticism

Ryanair has taken social media marketing by storm by using TikTok as a content creator might do. Rather than shying away from controversial situations like luggage restrictions or complaints about the in-flight experience, it makes fun of these situations. They are also quick to jump on trends, a strategy that has resulted in significant views and engagement.

@ryanair Benji is a good boy. be like benji! 🎵 @KhakiKid ♬ original sound - Ryanair


Wendy’s Know How to Meme

Wendy’s marketing team is known for pushing boundaries. They’ve earned 1.1 million Instagram followers that enjoy their memes. This makes Wendy’s relatable and puts it at the centre of just about anything. These “old fashioned burgers” have been the centre of marketing campaigns since the 80s with their iconic “Where’s the beef?” campaign. Today, they are known for their witty social media content, posts, and partnerships.

Here’s a look at their take on the Sopranos Summer trend:

...And their entertaining Facebook page:


Nando’s Pokes Fun

Some brands were known for their unhinged marketing, long before it became trendy to do so. Nando’s South Africa is a prime example of this, with comedic takes on politics and social issues.This allows the brand to celebrate its heritage and connect with local audiences through clever commentary on controversial topics, ranging from corruption to xenophobia.


Scrub Daddy is Provocative

“America’s favourite sponge” has a wild take across their TikTok posts, many of which have gone viral. This approach has catapulted the brand into becoming a household name, with an expanding product line that adapts to trends. The brand voice suits their style as a company and appeals to the youthful audience that they’re targeting.

@scrubdaddy If you don’t get these, the green mosnter is gonna eat me 😔. #scrubdaddy#smile#cleantok#cleaningtiktok#americasfavoritesponge#halloween#scrubmommy♬ original sound - Scrub Daddy


Washington Post Finds Youth Appeal

The Washington Post are considered TikTok pioneers as they were one of the first brands to create an account. One look at their bio tells you everything you need to know, simply stating “We are a newspaper.” With 1.6m followers, this is their way of making the American daily paper appealing to the youth.

The content features Q&As and news skits that deliver stories packed with a punch in a whole new way. Their page poses an interesting question about what constitutes journalism in today’s world. In the example below, a news story is delivered by it being acted out.

@washingtonpost The actors union SAG-AFTRA is now on strike, joining an ongoing walkout by Hollywood writers and effectively shutting down the industry in its first double strike in 63 years. The joint walkout by actors is expected to shut down nearly all remaining filming. Production on many shows and movies has already ground to a halt since the writers strike began in early May. A double strike with writers is nearly unprecedented. They have only picketed simultaneously once: in 1960, when the Screen Actors Guild was led by Ronald Reagan. #writersstrike#sagaftrastrike♬ original sound - We are a newspaper.



The dating app Tinder has a TikTok account which explores the perils of modern day dating. This includes relationship therapy talks, Tinderella tales, and H🔥t takes. They’ve recently featured @Saweetie on their page with a contest for college students and while many of their posts don’t have high engagement rates, they have a collection of high-performing posts, like this one about romanticising a pre-date cleaning spree.

@tinder it’s giving rom com #dateprep#cleaneverything#tinder#dating♬ Sunsets (feat. Olivia Lunny) - Nurko


Aldi UK Lets Loose on TikTok

Aldi, a grocery store based in the UK has a Gen-z-friendly TikTok account with over 5m likes and counting. Popular segments include “Food for thought” and “fakeaways.” They have mastered the way to appeal to all – be it pet lovers, parents, or young adults, as well as translating the in-store experience with everyday life. Their content cleverly showcases their products by making them relevant to both current trends and their target audiences, as seen in their 'Leo Season' milkshake tutorial.

@aldiuk We’re kicking off Leo Season with this dreamy strawberry shake we’re percy-tive you’ll love🤩🩷Grab all the ingredients in store now!🦁♌️ #summerrecipe#leoseason#easyrecipe#strawberrymilkshake#milkshake#aldifinds#alditiktok♬ original sound - music>>>

While this approach to creative content marketing and tone of voice certainly isn’t appropriate to all brands, it can be highly effective for others. It is also crucial to ensure that you understand culture and trends to avoid mishaps and blunders. It is still important to have a style guide that outlines your tone of voice. Finally, you need to have an agile and responsive team in place for this approach to work really effectively.

When marketing teams have the freedom to create and connect with target audiences using social media marketing, they can create some of the most highly engaging content published by brands.

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