Helping Mashed Potato Brand ‘Idahoan Foods’ Go Viral On TikTok With 14M Views



20.1% Engagement Rate

'Custom Sound' Plays

The Client

Idahoan Foods is a US based ‘instant mash’ giant with over 50 years of history. You may have seen their products on supermarket shelves with their line of instant mash flavours including Buttery Homestyle, Four Cheese, Roasted Garlic and more.

The Challenge

At the start of lockdown, Idahoan Foods instant mashed potato products were sold out in stores across the USA as people stockpiled food. This presented a unique challenge: how to get people to use up the potatoes from their cupboards? 

The client wanted a campaign that would target the Gen Z demographic in the US, an audience they have had trouble reaching in the past. With food content on the rise on TikTok, we knew it was the perfect platform to raise awareness for the brand.

Considering the unusualness of the product, we had to come up with an innovative campaign that would help Idahoan seamlessly insert themselves into #food conversation on TikTok and bring the brand front of mind. The clients aims & KPI for this campaign were:

1. Drive brand awareness  – measured by views.

Gen Z Insights

Turning “Boring” To “Fun” 

TikTok as a platform presents the greatest opportunity for brands (and products) considered “boring” to engage Gen Z in a completely new way. A great example of this is our work with ACCA to transform Gen Z perceptions around “accounting”. With the right TikTok strategy in place we were able to turn Idahoan into a relevant, fun and engaging brand with Gen Z.

Leveraging Dance Challenges 

Dance culture is synonymous with TikTok. Leveraging dance challenges is a surefire way to engage Gen Z and when executed right, can unlock a whole new world of engagement. Using our data-led insights on ‘what works’,  we created a choreographed dance routine that helped positioned the client as ‘in touch with Gen Z’ culture . The virality of this led to increased views, engagement and most importantly user generated content

The Power of Custom Sounds 

When it comes to marketing on TikTok a lot of brands underestimate the power of ‘custom sounds’. Brands that get this right can deeply embed themselves into TikTok and drive more awareness – simply by people interacting with their custom sound. Our original custom sound for Idahoan got over 50,000 plays driving additional awareness as well as users to Idahoan’s account. 

Building Authenticity Through Creative Freedom

Whilst it’s understandable that many brands want to be in control of their influencer creatives, giving influencers creative freedom can boost authenticity on TikTok. For our client’s campaign, we gave influencers creative freedom telling them to create content in their own style. This format would help ensure that each video fitted in with their particular niche and sat seamlessly on their TikTok feed. 

The Solution

With the brief set we leveraged our insights to create a 2 part campaign on TikTok. The first part would be an exciting dance challenge incorporating an original custom sound. The second part was based on selecting a range of niche influencers and giving them creative freedom to create content that would resonate with their audience.

Influencer Selection 

We knew the client was trying to create ‘broad awareness’ and selected a diverse range of influencers for the campaign. Based on previous work with food brands, we knew influencers from niches like comedy, lifestyle, magic and ‘family’ are great at building trust in this vertical. Using our in-house TikTok analytics tool ‘ByteSights’, we found influencers already generating large awareness for similar brands and were able to activate them for Idahoan.

1. #MashOut Challenge

We decided a dance challenge would be a fun way to organically introduce Idahoan to the audience without overly branding the campaign. The #mashout challenge consisted of simple dance moves which included the famous 1960’s ‘Mashed Potato Dance’. The choreographed #mashout dance was fun to watch and easy to learn, meaning users could easily replicate it and even duet with influencers. The addition of our extremely catchy and upbeat custom sound made the dance challenge even more irresistible, leading to its huge viral success. Here is an example of the dance challenge videos. 


2. Influencers ‘Making It Their Own’

The second part of this campaign saw influencers from a range of niches, including magician and comedians creating videos using the product. We gave the influencers creative freedom to align their videos with their personal brand and audiences…essentially “making it their own.” An example of this included magicians weaving the product into a magic trick, and comedians sharing funny skits with the instant mash. It remained authentic because they were able to execute the videos in a way that was really genuine and didn’t come across as an ‘ad’. Here is an example of influencers ‘making it their own’.

The Results

  • Awareness – 14M views
  • Engagement – 20.1% engagement rate
  • Other – 50K plays of custom sound, 3.7K followers, 208 pieces of UGC

Based on the first aim of driving ‘brand awareness’ – we surpassed guaranteed views by over 700% racking up an impressive 14,000,000 million views across the campaign. 

In relation to engagement, we saw our influencers videos hit a 20.13% engagement rate, well over the successful industry benchmark of 14% for TikTok. 

But it didn’t stop there. Our campaign delivered extra results outside the client’s brief including 100’s of pieces of UGC, 50K plays of their custom sound as well as growing their TikTok profile by 3,700 followers.

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