Mood Board

Mood Board: Hootsuite goes into the wild for its first brand campaign

The 5-month campaign includes a digital audio element and a new sonic logo with a Mortal Kombat Easter egg.
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· 4 min read

“Social media is wild.”

That’s the first line in an ad that’s part of social media management platform Hootsuite’s first-ever brand campaign, called “Into the Wild.” It’s tied to the company’s rebranding and is based on the idea that “social media is one of the most insane categories you can work in,” said Billy Jones, global brand lead at Hootsuite.

The campaign is running on social media, of course, but also includes YouTube, CTV, display, and search ads, as well as a PR push, all of which began on July 12 and will continue through the end of this month.

Jones, who led the internal creative team behind the campaign, said his favorite piece was a digital audio ad. We spoke with him about how his team created and executed that element of the campaign, including a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s new sonic logo.

Target practice: The 30-second audio ad is running on digital audio networks including Spotify and YouTube Music, according to Jones. Hootsuite wasn’t targeting based on content, like podcasts versus music, but instead looking to hit a specific audience regardless of what they are listening to, he said.

Using Google’s “proprietary data segmentation tools” and its own first-party data, Hootsuite was able to “hone in on people that were social media marketers,” Jones said, but that’s about as granular as the audio ad targeting got. That part of the campaign instead served as a first point of communication with potential new customers.

“We’ve primed them, we’ve made them feel something, remember something for Hootsuite,” he said. “If they get entered into our targeting and retargeting pool, then on the other channels we can kind of hit them with more direct performance messaging.”

The payoff: Google also provided campaign measurement for Hootsuite, and reported that the audio ad was the second-highest performing asset in the campaign based on brand lift, behind only a video spot featuring drag performer Blair St. Clair, Jones said. It’s clocked 13.5 million impressions thus far.

Where the wild things are: The audio ad isn’t pulled from the video ads, although the fundamental idea is the same. The voice-over is different, and the copy centers around examples of viral moments to illustrate the “wild world” of social media.

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“A place where feta cheese goes viral, lawyers twerk on TikTok, and customers flock to the inboxes of businesses like an oasis in the desert,” the narrator says.

In order to help convey the “guide to the wild” theme via audio, Hootsuite’s internal creative team of about 15 found a voice actor that “sounded a lot like somebody that may do a lot of wildlife shows,” Jones said, though he declined to name the narrator.

The team also leveraged sound design to make the ad sound like Netflix nature documentary, Jones said, adding ambient noises like birds chirping.

Easter egg: The ad kicks off with a voice singing “Hootsuite” in a tune that might be familiar to fans of the Mortal Kombat franchise.

When a player throws a particularly solid uppercut in the game, a voice says “toasty” in a falsetto voice. It’s become a kind of lore among fans.

Jones, who said he grew up playing Mortal Kombat, recorded himself singing “Hootsuite” in the same tone, sent it to the producer and director of the campaign, and ended up as the voice behind his company’s sonic logo.

Some on YouTube picked up on the reference: “Hootsuite sounds like toasty from Mortal Kombat,” one user commented on the ad.

“That's a little earworm that you may not even pay attention to [in] that ad, but a week later, you might hear that thing in your head, or you might see another ad and think about that little mnemonic, and that’s going to trigger a memory that will make you more likely to visit our website,” Jones said, noting that branded search was the KPI for the campaign. “Sonic branding, to me, is one of the most underutilized aspects of a marketer’s toolkit.”

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