10 Brands Ready For Mardi Gras 2015

Brands are tweeting from parades and sharing content on Fat Tuesday.

Content Marketing

Mardi Gras is a marketing moment many brands fail to capitalize on. Multiple brands are looking beyond the drunken debauchery of Bourbon Street, tweeting from parades and sharing content like recipes to get into the Mardi Gras spirit this year. Here’s how brands are weaving themselves into the culture and story line of Fat Tuesday.

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans

New Orleans’ professional football and basketball teams, respectively, have been actively pushing out Mardi-Gras-themed content.

The Saints, for example, are taking full advantage of their break in the offseason by posting Vines from parades, as well as tweets like a Mardi-Gras-themed GIF from quarterback Drew Brees’ SportsCenter commercial and general Mardi Gras cheer from players.

For their part, the Pelicans are taking full advantage of their King Cake Baby character. According to Randazzo’s Camellia City Bakery, a king cake is an oval-shaped “cross between a coffee cake and French pastry” that is decorated in “purple, which signifies justice, green, [which is] for faith, and gold, [which is] for power.”

In addition, a tiny plastic baby is hidden inside to symbolize the Epiphany. And, as tradition goes, when king cake is served at a party, the guest who finds the baby is dubbed king for a day and is obligated to host the next party.

The Pelicans have been tweeting to fans with opportunities to meet their King Cake Baby in person and the team also created a faux SportsCenter spot featuring the King Cake Baby at the Pelicans head office.

Lindsey Mitchell, corporate communications manager for the Pelicans and Saints, said the King Cake Baby originated as a character that participated in in-game races, along with a Mardi Gras jester and king. The King Cake Baby in particular seemed to resonate with fans and so the team wanted to give them an opportunity to interact more, which is why the Pelicans scheduled pre-Mardi-Gras appearances.

Fans were able to take photos and selfies with the King Cake Baby and the Pelicans were able to create a “chance for people to really get into the Mardi Gras spirit,” Mitchell said.

“New Orleans is very proud of things that are very New Orleans,” she said. “I think New Orleans is such a special market and it’s such a unique opportunity to have Mardi Gras every year. Everyone looks forward to it and everyone has their own traditions. To own a little Mardi Gras spirit in the King Cake Baby enabled us to have a lot of fun with this.”


Abita Brewing Company

The Louisiana-based microbrewer is utilizing Facebook video, as well as Instagram and Twitter to capture the spirit of Mardi Gras and revelers using its product along parade routes.

Jordan Von Tress, a digital strategist at advertising firm Innovative Advertising and who handles social media for Abita, said the brand has been filming footage at parades over the last two weeks “trying to capture what Mardi Gras is and how Abita plays into it” and posting videos on Facebook. Those efforts have also included rewarding parade-goers who were drinking Abita with Abita swag. In doing so, Von Tress says the brand is trying to “capture what Mardi Gras is and what people are packing in their coolers.”

Abita, which has a Mardi Gras Bock seasonal brew, wants to showcase its New Orleans and Mardi Gras heritage as much as possible, he said.

“New Orleans is synonymous with Mardi Gras, as is Abita, which is synonymous with New Orleans. It’s the local craft beer of choice for many people and we’re finding everywhere people associate one with the other,” he adds. Coincidentally, the brand also recently featured its Purple Haze brew in a “Fifty Shades of Grey” themed image to capitalize upon movie excitement as well. Von Tress says Purple Haze is one of Abita’s most popular beers on a national level and the brand “just wanted to have some fun with it and to capture that audience with the hashtag.”


Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Quick service chain Popeyes, which was founded in a New Orleans suburb in 1972, has been tweeting images of beads, as well as photos from parades with the hashtag #FindYourMardiGras, which, per Topsy, has been used about 80 times in the last month.


Zatarain’s

Cajun-style food company Zatarain’s has also been tweeting images from parades, as well as Mardi-Gras-themed GIFs.

The brand has comparable content on Facebook, which also includes images of beads and jambalaya. And Zatarain’s has a virtual parade, the Zataroute on its Facebook page, which invites its 300,000 fans to follow along with the king cake baby.


Tabasco

Hot sauce brand Tabasco, which is also a Louisiana native, is sharing Mardi Gras recipes via Twitter to its 25,000 followers.


Crystal

Another Louisiana-based hot sauce, Crystal, posted an image of staffers from its corporate office who were ready for Mardi Gras on Twitter and Facebook,


Tulane

The New Orleans-based university has been active on Twitter, tweeting about alumni in parades, as well as studies about Mardi Gras’ economic impact on the region and tips on where to find king cake, as well as overall bead etiquette.

“Tulane is so closely identified with New Orleans, this is just a natural fit for us,” said Mike Strecker, executive director of public relations at Tulane. “So many of us faculty, staff and students take part in Mardi Gras in parades and the marching bands march in a lot of parades and a few years back, the president of the board was the king of Carnival.”


Emeril Lagasse

The New-Orleans-based chef and restaurateur is using Twitter and Facebook to share recipes with the hashtag #EmerilsMardiGras, which has generated about 150 tweets in the past week, per Topsy.

In addition, Emeril is another brand that has been tweeting from parades.


Jim Beam

Kentucky bourbon brand Jim Beam wants to ensure its 100,000 followers associate it with Bourbon Street in its Mardi Gras tweet from February 13.


Udi’s Gluten-Free Foods

And gluten-free brand Udi’s has gone as far as creating a Pinterest board with “mouthwatering gluten free recipes with a Cajun/Southern twist,” like gluten-free beignets, king cake and red beans and rice, as well as fried green tomatoes and crawfish etouffee.

The board has 55 pins and 30,000 followers.

What do you think about Mardi Gras' potential for marketers?

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