PR & Social Media

What It Takes to Win Best of Show

By Sarah Curry, Associate Social Media Director

November 03, 2016

Last week, we stole the show at the 2016 Alchemy Awards, taking home 10 wins, including the highly-coveted Best of Show Award for our work with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board on their Summer of Curds Campaign.

While there isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success when it comes to award-winning work, there are a few key aspects that made this promotion stand out to be selected as the best of the best.


A Fresh and Strategic Approach

At S&B we believe that a strong campaign begins with a solid foundation, based in research and planning. In developing the Summer of Curds social media promotion, we evaluated the past top performing social media content on the Wisconsin cheese social media channels to determine what type of theme would be most interesting and successful. A thorough content audit revealed that content containing cheese curds garnered the most engagement with fans on social media. In addition, a review of consumer comments and requests showed that one of the most frequently asked questions is “Where can I find/order fresh Wisconsin cheese curds?,” followed closely by fans expressing how much they miss cheese curds after having moved out of state.

The S&B team also reviewed search terms for WMMB’s website and found cheese curds were among the top terms resulting in organic traffic to the site. Based on this information, it was determined that cheese curds would be a very engaging theme or hook for the promotion.


Engaging A Fan Base

As a national brand, most creative on the Wisconsin Cheese social media channels had previously shied away from imagery and content focused on the state. But for this campaign the team wanted to tap into the target audience’s nostalgia and emotional connection. Content shared across all the Wisconsin Cheese social media channels asked fans to participate in the conversation and share their memories of enjoying fresh Wisconsin cheese curds. Imagery also evoked pride for Wisconsin and our status as “America’s Dairyland” – through an Eat Curds t-shirt featuring the outline of the state or a photo of the state of Wisconsin made out of cheese curds.

The response from fans on social media was overwhelming. From folks who had grown up in the state and moved away, to people who could remember the exact moment they first tried a cheese curd, the Summer of Curds campaign was successful in building meaningful relationships with our fans and driving ongoing engagement.


The Power of (Targeted) Paid Media

As revealed in the social media content audit, Wisconsin cheese curds elicit a deep emotional response from fans on social media. The S&B team decided to take advantage of this passion by targeting cheese-loving folks who have some connection to Wisconsin. Facebook ads, aimed at driving awareness and traffic to the contest website, targeted people who had previously lived in Wisconsin, attended a Wisconsin university, have family that live in the state, or had been exposed to Wisconsin cheese curds in some other way.

The targeted Facebook ads were responsible for driving more than 3.2 million impressions and 50,000 clicks to the contest website.


Hands-on Support

“Hands-on” isn’t necessarily the standard approach for a social media campaign, but the Summer of Curds promotion demonstrated the power of one-on-one engagement and hands-on support through personalized media outreach, freshly packed cheese curd prize mailers and real-time engagement and response.

In lieu of a traditional food-focused media list, the S&B team researched contacts at top media outlets, social media influencers, as well as celebrities, to identify folks who had a connection to Wisconsin. They were sent personalized notes and cheese curd mailers which resulted not only in media coverage, but also social media engagement.

The S&B social media team closely monitored all social media content and the #EatCurds campaign hashtag to identify opportunities for real-time engagement with fans. This is included reaching out to unsuspecting fans who had professed their love for Wisconsin cheese curds and surprising them with a cheese curd mailer.


Outstanding Results

In the end, the Summer of Curds social media promotion exceeded all of our goals and objectives – generating nearly 200,000 entries, more than 51 million total consumer impressions and 1 million engagements. What’s more, the team packaged and shipped more than 200 pounds of fresh Wisconsin cheese curds to consumers! Most importantly, however, the campaign was also successful in creating lasting relationships and engagement with our social media fans.


If you’d like to partner with the Stephan & Brady team to develop an award-worthy campaign, please give us a call or shoot us an email at We’d love to work with you!

And, on behalf of all of us at Stephan & Brady, we would once again like to congratulate all of this year’s Alchemy Award winners.


eat cheese curds

Summer of Curds

Summer of Curds

This social media promotion capitalized on the love that people have for Wisconsin cheese.

This social media promotion capitalized on the love that people have for Wisconsin cheese.

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