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Pop-Tarts' Edible Mascot's Ultimate Sacrifice in Bowl Season Campaign

A pop-tart standing on top of a large box in a stadium

Embracing Dark Humour for Viral Success

In a surprising turn of events, Pop-Tarts' latest marketing campaign took an unconventional route by focusing on dark, offbeat humour. The activation centred around its edible mascot's 'ultimate sacrifice' – an audacious game-day campaign that commanded attention across social media platforms.

The Bold Approach to Game-Day Activation

For those unfamiliar with the concept, game-day activations are marketing tactics synchronised with major sports events, designed to engage spectators and create buzz. In this instance, Pop-Tarts decided to do something very different. They leveraged the novelty and shock-factor of having their beloved mascot partake in a self-sacrificial act – a display designed to shock, amuse, and most importantly, gain traction online.

A Viral Sensation Sparks Conversation

The resulting effect was nothing short of spectacular. Social media users and spectators alike were captivated by the spectacle, leading to a flurry of activity across various platforms. Pop-Tarts' edible mascot became a topic of conversation, making headlines and turning heads.

This sort of attention is a marketer's dream. It represents digital word-of-mouth at its finest, proving once again that creativity coupled with a firm understanding of your target audience can yield incredible results.

According to Talkwalker data shared with Marketing Dive, approximately 30% of all mentions of Pop-Tarts on social media in the past six months can be attributed to the game. On the day of the game, the mascot was the main topic of conversation.

A spokesperson from Talkwalker stated, "Determining sentiment is challenging as the emotions of the game can influence the results. Additionally, there were some dark jokes related to the mascot being toasted. However, overall, the game had a net sentiment of +20%, and mentions of the mascot had a net sentiment of +30.2%."

Pop-Tarts is embracing the social engagement by closely monitoring conversations on social media, sharing its own content across various platforms, and actively engaging with user-generated content on Instagram, X, and TikTok.

The Role of Humour in Marketing

Dark, weird humour isn't always associated with traditional marketing approaches – and for a good reason. It's a fine line to tread, as it can easily upset or alienate certain audience groups. However, when done right, it has the power to compel and engage audiences in unique ways.

The Pop-Tarts campaign serves as an example of how a brand can leverage humour effectively. They understood their audience, knew what might resonate, and went all-in on an idea that was both unexpected and entertaining.

Key Takeaways for Marketers

Pop-Tarts’ success story underscores a few key lessons for fellow marketers:

1. Understand your audience and be aware of their preferences and sensibilities.


2. Out-of-the-box ideas coupled with bold executions can reap rich rewards.

3. Well-executed humour, even if dark or quirky, can successfully engage audiences and drive conversation.

4. Strategic timing (coinciding with major events or popular occasions) can amplify campaign reach and efficacy.

Wrapping Up: Pop-Tarts’ Edible Mascot Campaign

As we’ve seen, creating memorable, shareable content doesn't always mean playing it safe. Sometimes, it means taking risks, making the most of strategic timing, and harnessing the power of humour (even if it's a little weird). 

All marketers, especially those new to the industry, can learn from Pop-Tarts' example – don't be afraid to push boundaries, make bold decisions, and create something that truly stands out.


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