7 Ways Brands Most Successfully Celebrated Star Wars Day 

When marketers think about planning seasonal campaigns, usually holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas come to mind. While those should be a focus, on social media there’s also a great amount of opportunity around less formal holidays that are more playful in tone, and often build around intellectual property. May The Fourth, or the Star Wars pun that launched a thousand brand posts, is an excellent example of this type of event. 

44 years after the first movie came out, fan interest in talking about the franchise has only grown and participating in Star Wars Day is an effective way to make your own brand more top-of-mind.  Here are brand strategies that were most successful on social media around Star Wars Day this year.

#1. Leverage Library Content 

The Big Bang Theory received 30,104 responses on Facebook for a clip of the group trying unsuccessfully to explain the May The Fourth holiday to Penny while The Simpsons got 25,552 responses to an Instagram post showing Ralph Wiggum dressing up as Princess Leia for Inspirational Women Day. If you’re a media brand and have Star Wars related content in the vault, May Fourth is definitely the day to dust it off. 

#2. Lead With A Creative Visual 

Compelling visuals are never a bad idea, but considering how much of Star Wars is communicated visually, many brands were able to stand out with their May The Fourth content without having to say too much. For example, WWE had 163,869 responses to an Instagram gallery where they edited lightsabers into photos of their wrestlers fighting, Jimmy Kimmel Live received 34,550 responses to an Instagram picture of Yoda and Leia cosplay, and John Deer got 16,737 responses to Instagram concept art showing what the John Deere version of a Tauntaun would look like.  

#3. Force A Force Joke 

Dating back at least to Mel Brooks proclaiming “May the Schwartz be with you!” in Spaceballs, jokes about “The Force” have been ubiquitous, and Star Wars Day isn’t the context you’d expect restraint. The Muppets had the best performing Force related social media post, getting 33,396 responses on Facebook, with Kermit and Miss Piggy in Star Wars outfits, wishing “May the Farce be with you.” Additionally, Callaway Golf’s Force video post scored 12,212 responses on Instagram, sharing a trick shot and showing that anything that defies explanation can be re-contextualized as a Jedi trick. 

The rest of Force related posts that got engagement followed a fairly rigid formula. Accenture got 4,010 responses to an Instagram post showing an Accenture hat with Yoda ears with the explanation “the force is strong with this one” while Avid got 3,366 responses to an Instagram video showing Baby Yoda using The Force to edit on a soundboard. Meanwhile, Shake Shack got 3,179 responses to an Instagram photo of their fries levitating with the caption “The force is strong with this one.” with Buffalo Wild Wings receiving 3,052 responses to a Tweet about their wings explaining that “the sauce is strong with this one”.

#4. Promote The Merchandise 

When the first Star Wars movie came out, the only merchandise you could buy around the film were action figures, with Kenner only having to pay $100,000 for the toy making rights. The marketing empire around the franchise has scaled considerably since then. 

In a crowded field, Lego had the most successful merchandise related post on Star Wars Day, getting 151,928 responses on Instagram for photos of a set featuring The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda. Other merchandise focused posts that performed well included Build-A-Bear getting 4,536 responses to a post showing a Baby Yoda plushy in cap and gown as a suggested graduation gift, and Williams-Sonoma receiving 4,465 responses to an Instagram Gallery showing off their Star Wars collection, such as a Millennium Falcon waffle. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble got 3,640 responses to an Instagram post sharing a pile of Star Wars related books. 

#5. Run A Contest 

Bribing the audience is a marketing strategy as old as Yoda. GameStop had 43,708 responses on an Instagram post offering a chance to win a Star War prize pack in exchange for leaving Likes and Comments.  

#6. Say You’re Making a Star Wars Meme Without Saying It 

Slim Jim got 51,037 responses to an Instagram post explaining that they’re not going to “force” a lame ass May Fourth meme because they’re “rebels”. For brands with a more irrelevant tone, there’s enough saturation around brand posts around Star Wars Day and other social media holidays that playfully announcing you won’t be participating is an effective way to stand out. 

#7. Curate Content From Others 

E! News got 32,631 responses to a Regram of Billie Lourd showing her infant son in a Princess Leia onesie watching his late grandmother in Star Wars. While you’re going to have to compensate the content creator if the repost isn’t being used in a news context, around holidays there are going to be unique takes that are poignant and emotional that can’t come from the voice of a brand. Sometimes amplifying the voices of others on your social channels makes more sense.   

Want more advice around planning holiday related campaigns? Either stream our webinar about Competitive Information to Plan Seasonal Campaigns or request a ListenFirst demo today

6 Brand Takeaways From April Fools’ Day Pranks This Year 

There are very few days of the year that are seen as showcases for brand messaging, and while Super Bowl Sunday is the most prominent example, April Fools’ Day is another rare instance when the internet is actually looking forward to hearing what brands have to say. So which brand pranks this year earned a laugh and which earned a groan from the social media audience? Based on what ListenFirst’s data analytics unearthed during the 2021 go around, here are the Top 6 insights for brands around April Fools’ Day.     

Insight #1. If Nothing Else, A Name Change Prank Will Be Talked About 

The most high profile brand prank of 2021, was Volkswagen claiming on March 29 it was changing its name to Voltswagen, a full three days before the April 1 holiday. The gun jumping decision was widely panned, after VW stock initially rose around the name change which could lead to a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into manipulating stock with false statements. However, in terms of generating social media interes the bait and switch did have some level of success. Volkswagen earned 3,483 New Followers on Twitter between March 29 – April 1, up from 104 new Twitter followers between March 25 – 28, 2021. Meanwhile in the same time period, there were 37.1K page views of the Volkswagen Wikipedia page, an increase of 480%. While Volkswagen would take back the prank if they could, there appears to be value in a name changing joke, provided it’s actually made on April 1 and not earlier. 

Insight #2. Make Jokes That Only Make Sense For Your Brand 

Tiffany & Co. gained 17,983 New Fans on social media on April 1 around changing their signature Tiffany Blue color to yellow, while Paddington Bear generated 15.2K Likes on Twitter saying he doesn’t like marmalade anymore. These jokes are extremely simple but effective because they play off the audience’s existing knowledge of a strong brand identity.  

Insight #3. Offer Products That Actually Would Be A Good Idea 

Lego gained a whopping 105,776 New Fans as they talked up SmartBricks, which are Legos that move out of the way when you’re about to step on them. Duolingo gained 1,850 New Fans on April 1, which was an increase of 1,401 New Fans from the previous day around Duolingo Roll, which is toilet paper that teaches you another language, an idea that definitely would move product, should it ever exist.


Tag a friend who needs this…April Fools!🤪 #dunkin #aprilfools

♬ Trailer (Trailer): Action Movie – Ken Nakagawa

Meanwhile, Dunkin’ Donuts got 24,810 responses for a TikTok video showing an arm attachment bag/cup holder that Ben Affleck totally needs. Even Teletubbies pitching TubbyCoin in a Tweet that got 44,367 responses may seem like an absurd idea, but it’s no stranger than real cryptocurrencies like Cthulhu Offerings and Burger King’s Russia’s Whoppercoin.  Of course people would buy TubbyCoin.  

Insight #4. Make A Clear Connection In Product Mashups 

Outback Steakhouse lost -155 social media fans on a day they shared their LipSteak lipstick pitch while Green Giant gained only 15 New Fans on April 1, around their Cauliflower flavored Peeps bunnies joke. It wasn’t overly clear what the connection between lipstick and steak was and when Green Giant has green in the title and Peeps is normally yellow, it seemed strange that they’re talking about white colored cauliflower. 

On the flip side of that, Durex gained 2,141 New Fans on the day they posted about a Smart Condom, that counts every thrust. As sex is a form of exercise, a Fitbit joke made sense to their audience. April Fools’ Pranks by brands where two things unexpectedly make sense together are a lot more effective than pranks where two different products make absolutely no sense together.  

Insight #5. Don’t Be Randomly Gross 

It wasn’t a great year for brands that decided to share disgusting versions of their products. For example while Bud Light gained 967 New Fans on the day they shared pizza flavored Bud Light Seltzer that was actually -681  from how many new fans they generated during the previous day. Meanwhile Gatorade had a net loss of  -433 Fans on the day they shared the new Swamp Punch flavor, Velveeta only gained 74 new Fans on the day they shared a post talking about a new Velveeta skincare product, and Heinz Ketchup had a grand total of 4 New social media fans on the day they shared Cravy, which is a ketchup/Ocean Spray cranberry mashup flavor, 

Insight #6. QA Test Your Prank With People Outside Your Social Media Team 

On April 1, Subway lost -335 net Fans on social media around an April Fools’ Day Tweet that said “we finally did it”. While they quickly clarified that they were just joking, it was less clear what Subway was joking about. It was possibly a reference to a March 31 Tweet saying “we do this together. #RestoreTheSnyderverse” but it’s still not clear what the joke is and the audience can’t be expected to put in that much research trying to figure it out. Just like a standup comedian would never go on television and tell jokes that haven’t already been tested in front of a nightclub audience, social media teams need third party feedback to make sure their prank will actually land as intended.    

Looking for more best practices insights to help inform your brand’s social media strategy? Request a ListenFirst demo today! 

5 Social Insights About Music During The Holiday Season

To answer what music streaming brands need to know about music on social media during this holiday season, ListenFirst looked at the social media posts of 8 music streaming services: Spotify, YouTube Music, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Tidal, Soundcloud, and Pandora Music. Here are the top five takeaways the industry needs to know about sharing on social media during the holidays.  

Insight #1. Past Hits And Highlights Are Often The Most Effective Holiday Posts 

An iHeartRadio gallery post sharing pictures of past Jingle Ball performances generated 63,530 responses with a Tweet showing a video of Jingle Balls’ greatest past moments received 25,571 responses. Meanwhile Spotify’s top performing holiday related post between December 1-14, 2020 was an Instagram gallery talking about Mariah Carey’s classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” which generated 31,520 responses. Considering how much of the holiday season is about nostalgia; sharing holiday content that connected with the audience in the past is often going to be what performs the best on social media. 

Insight #2. There’s A 5% Increase In The Real-Time Conversation Around Holiday Music YOY 

While there’s been a huge increase in interest around Christmas Trees during the pandemic; interest in Christmas songs is only up slightly this year. There were 393,595 Tweets mentioning Holiday or Christmas Music between December 1-14,2020, up from 373,691 Tweets mentioning Holiday or Christmas Music during December 1-14, 2019. Since how people listen to recorded music is one of the few things that hasn’t changed during the pandemic, there’s no reason for people to be talking significantly more or less about holiday music on social media this year. 

Insight #3. This Holiday Season, BTS Is Musical Act Generating The Most Responses For Music Streaming Services 

Between December 1-14, 2020; Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, SoundCloud, YouTube Music, Spotify, and Pandora Music shared 15 posts mentioning BTS that averaged 64,269 responses. During the same time period, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Pandora Music, and Amazon Music, and Spotify shared 22 posts about Taylor Swift that averaged 19,452 responses; while HeartRadio, Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora Music, and Tidal shared 19 social media posts mentioning Shawn Mendes which averaged 18,678 responses. These are the musical acts that the social media audience most wants to see music streaming services post about this holiday season.  

Insight #4.  One Holiday Song Moving The Needle On Social For Streaming Services And One That Could Move The Needle

An iHeartRadio Instagram post about the Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello duet “The Christmas Song” received 21,377 responses while a Pandora Music Tweet promoting the same Mendes and Cabello collaboration received 16,441 responses between December 1-14, 2020. It appears this cover is the new holiday song that’s moving the needle the most for music streaming services on social media.  

The song that music streamers might be sleeping on? Tyler Joseph from Twenty One Pilots Tweeted about the song “Christmas Saves The Year” he recorded in his basement and that link generated 76,745 responses on Twitter.

#5. Virtual Holiday Events Gain Traction During The Pandemic

Pandora Music got 19,273 responses for a Facebook post promoting a Carrie Underwood virtual event around her new Christmas album while an iHeartRadio Tweet about a Louis Tomlinson live stream billed as a holiday season gift received 11,282 responses. With live concert and other in-person appearances an impossibility this holiday season; creating virtual events and promoting them on social media, is the next best way to connect fans with their favorite artists. 

Want more insights about how the social media audience is engaging with holiday music on social media? Request a ListenFirst Demo today!   

5 Social Media Facts About This Thanksgiving

With more than 85,000 coronavirus patients hospitalized nationwide, Thanksgiving this year has been transformed from a beloved holiday into a potentially super-spreading event; turning what already is a public health crisis into an even worse situation. To help get a better picture of how the social media audience is feeling about the holiday this year, here are 5 social media facts you need to know about Thanksgiving in 2020.  

Fact #1. The Social Audience Is Talking A Lot More About Thanksgiving Travel This Year 

Between November 1-22, 2020 there were 134,950 Tweets that mentioned both Thanksgiving and Travel, which was a 842% increase from the 14,320 Tweets mentioning both Thanksgiving and Travel together between November 1-22, 2019. Sentiment around the Tweets that mentioned both Thanksgiving and Travel between November 1-22, 2020 was 46% Negative and 12% Positive with many of the Tweets complaining about people still planning to Travel this Thanksgiving. For example, comedian Rachel McCartney got 194,927 responses to a Tweet complaining that 47% of Americans still plan to travel this Thanksgiving. 

Fact #2. Thanksgiving Dinner Has Always Been About Crowd Size, That Just Has A Different Connotation Now 


Between November 1-22, 2019; the most popular Tweet discussing Thanksgiving Dinner generated 140,782 responses and talked about how someone’s family is so big that the dinner spills over into the backyard and the street. This year, there are even more Tweets talking about the size of Thanksgiving Dinner, it’s just around the opposite extreme. For instance, a Manhattan podcaster received 5,529 responses to a Tweet announcing this Thanksgiving he’ll be defying a New York state restriction on indoor gathering of more than 10 people. Meanwhile, a Tweet accusing California Governor Gavin Newsom of being hypocritical about his guideline that no more than two households celebrate Thanksgiving dinner together received 5,471 responses while a Tweet saying people can do Thanksgiving dinner via Zoom received 3,796 responses.

Overall, there were 444,885 Tweets mentioning Thanksgiving and either the word Food, Meal, or Dinner between November 1-22, 2020 which was a 78% increase from Tweets with those same terms between November 1-22, 2019. In both years, the pre-Thanksgiving conversation was more around the guest list than around the actual food people would be having. 

Fact #3. Zoom May Become The Brand Most Associated With Thanksgiving This Year 

Largely around Zoom’s announcement that they’d lift their 40 minute call limit on free calls for Thanksgiving, between November 1-22, 2020, there have been 77,818 Tweets mentioning both Thanksgiving and Zoom. Along those lines, there have been a lot of “a Zoom Thanksgiving is better than…” Tweets leading into the holiday, for example saying it’s better than an ICU Christmas, better than a Zoom family funeral,and better than a RIP on Christmas.

Fact #4. Most Businesses Will Be Closed This Thanksgiving 


Between November 1-22, 2020, there were 15,996 Tweets talking about being Closed on Thanksgiving up from 7,752 Tweets mentioning being Closed on Thanksgiving between November 1-22, 2019. Given that brick and mortar stores are for the most part not even attempting to compete amid social distancing considerations; expect more people than ever to spend Thanksgiving on their computer, shopping for holiday sales.  

Fact #5. Getting A COVID Test Has Become Part Of The Thanksgiving Ritual 

Between November 1-22, 2020, there were 16,075 Tweets mentioning a COVID Test and Thanksgiving, with the number going way up the closer we get to the holiday. The Tweets range from warning people to get a Covid Test before leaving campus so you don’t kill your grandmother, reminders that a negative coronavirus test doesn’t make it safe to gather in person on Thanksgiving, and someone worrying that her mom who tested positive will still try to host Thanksgiving dinner. This holiday season, getting tested before headed home and the debate on if you should be around people regardless of what the test results are, is a big part of the Thanksgiving conversation on social media. 

Does your brand want even more social media insights about holidays during the age of the coronavirus? Request a ListenFirst demo today!