• Ryan Walker

PUTTING A BIRD ON 2020

At Darling, some of us remember a time when brands didn’t have social media profiles. There were print ads and television runs. One-off radio spots and the occasional activation, all carefully planned around a schedule of our choosing. Those people are not me.


Today, we build many campaigns primarily around Facebook and Instagram. But you can't fill out a content calendar with made-up holidays and bland, cyclical promotions. Simply put, there aren’t enough people with an emotional attachment to National Green Banana Day to sustain a year’s worth of content. And the mere fact that such a holiday is plausibly real, instead of something we just made up, is proof positive that social content is the place of dire straits. And yet, we must resist the temptation to make social streams a dumping ground for every selling point in the brand playbook.


Because while consumers don’t choose which ads run between shows or songs, they do decide who to follow on social media. And choosing to follow a brand is one of the greatest acts of love on Earth, probably second only to calling your mom just to check in. So when Toppers decided to rebrand their voice, we knew their social media accounts needed to lead the way, striking up a conversation, and rewarding our followers in the process.





To that end, we introduced a new character, the Chief Pizza Officer. And as she gave literal voice to the brand’s irreverent tone, we engaged our followers and invited them to play along. But while many of us can get away with telling the same, favorite anecdote to different people, we knew that our content needed to differ across platforms and contexts — knowing the same fans are active everywhere. Along the way, we invented deals like The Toppers Bowl, while finding new ways to show recurring promotions week after week.


As the year wrapped up, we saw one last opportunity to do something different with a multi-day $3.99 deal, aka the 12 Days of Toppers. With so many brands taking advantage of the traditional holiday song, it’s easy to overlook it’s more sinister undertones. Namely, the sheer number of birds gifted in days one through seven, which a PhD-level mathematician calculates at just over 200 fowl.


Needless to say, we took notice. And in painstaking detail, described the outcome that such a gift would inflict on your one true love — in a way that only Toppers can.






Day 1: 2020 has been a real cowpie. But year after year, one annual tradition sneaks into our homes, strikes fear into our hearts, then slides away through the post-holiday fog — forgotten, but destined to haunt us all again. That tradition? The 12 Days of Christmas. And we're not letting it go this year. Consider this: partridges don't live in pear trees. They want nothing to do with pear trees. The chances of finding a partridge in a pear tree? Nearly 0%. Not gonna happen. Don't waste your time. Of course there's a chance,there's always a chance. Just like there's a chance you'll find Kenny G in a pear tree. But last we checked, he's not native to pear trees. Never been near one. Why, in this day and age, do so many people say, "Don't go chasing waterfalls" — a feasible and rewarding pursuit, when in a just world, they'd say, "Don't go chasing partridges in pear trees?" Also, pears...really? Low-grade fruit. Not even cracking the top five. This deal on the other hand. It's a worthwhile decision with 100% certainty for success. It's around for all 12 days of Christmas. And there's a decent chance it'll get delivered before someone can finish the song.



Click the images below, and follow the saga day by grueling day:





With 1,317 words under my belt here (that’s 6.5 words per bird) I believe I’ve crossed the Rubicon, the singularity in which my voice and Toppers’ voice have inseparably merged into one. This is the price for work such as ours, and I pay it gladly. Just as long as there’s enough leftover to buy pizza.