As one of Mondelēz International’s smaller brands, Nutter Butter is given more freedom to experiment with its social media activity than its larger siblings like Oreo and Sour Patch Kids. That has allowed Dentsu Creative to craft an Instagram strategy for the brand so offbeat that some followers have expressed surprise that it isn’t a parody account.
On Jan. 31, the brand posted a picture of a family-size pack of the cookies with the word “family” overlaid with the name Aidan, and the comment: “Moving forward, I will only respond to you if your name is Aidan.” The post was a tribute to a long-term superfan of the brand named Aidan, but its absurdist humor took off with Gen Z users.
Earning more than 11,000 likes, the post outperformed in reach and engagement compared to activity from the year before and helped Nutter Butter double its number of Instagram followers in two weeks, attracting Gen Z users with a taste for the absurd.
“This generation is in a position where they are tired of being directly sold to, and they’re tired of people pretending that their product is more important than other aspects of the world,” Dentsu Creative social strategy manager Ryan Benson told Adweek. “We’re able to relate in a way that we’re like, this is all kind of silly. Let’s just laugh together.”
Since then, the brand has continued to pepper its social media content with “Aidan eggs.” Its Instagram bio reads: “Do not read if your name isn’t Aidan.” A Feb. 22 post presents “AID4N” as a new movie, riffing on the popularity of recent horror film M3GAN.
A Feb. 15 post tied to New York Fashion Week shows sharply dressed dolls with cookies for heads, including one with an Aidan name tag. A March 17 post shows a giraffe wearing a locket resembling the cookie sandwich with a heart that says Aidan inside. Some of the comments ask if users can buy Aidan merch, noting that “whoever hired this guy for PR did a good job,” and even requesting to meet the person who runs the account.
Even if the posts don’t specifically call out Aidan, Dentsu is trying to carry the same offbeat energy, sometimes using blown-out audio or low-quality images.
“If we overdo it, it’s gonna get to the point where it’s just oversaturated,” Dentsu social media strategist Aubrey Burrough said. “That’s where you lose that absurdist, weird, Gen Z audience. It’s really toeing that line.”
Nutter Butter doesn’t do any paid social media activity, and the Dentsu social teams work as an extension of the brand team, with Mondelēz giving them a long leash rather than seeking approval for every post, Burrough explained.
“Instead of being the 90th brand to hop on the bandwagon of some kind of massive trend, we found our niche here with these really small Gen Z trends,” she continued. “Even if our fans haven’t necessarily seen it, we’ve found that they can still be engaged by it.”