Facebook Marketing and Brands Using Pop Culture

Should Your Brand Leverage Pop Culture on Facebook?

When it comes to visual content on Facebook, I see many brands take a funny approach to pop culture in an effort to get a piece of the proverbial engagement pie. For example, on Cinco de Mayo, my news feed was cluttered with silly and irreverent “Happy Cinco de Mayo” posts from brands I Like on Facebook. I would expect a topical post like this from a brand with a little south of the border influence, like Taco Bell or Corona. But Happy Cinco de Mayo wishes from, say, my favorite brand of shoes (by an American designer)? That feels a little out of place.

Some brands strike Facebook marketing gold by capitalizing on pop culture events. Others have followed their lead, but this approach doesn’t work for every brand.

It also seems even the most obscure holidays, as well as new movies, album releases, and generally any pop culture event is game for newsjacking by brands. 

Which really makes for some excellent social media content. Some brands can do pop culture, funny or racy really well and their engagement is through the roof.

Brands Using Pop Culture on Facebook Well


For most social media marketers, the first brand to come to mind on this subject is Oreo. Funny works for Oreo because, well, its cookies… and cookies are fun! This Facebook post from May 17 alluding to Star Trek weekend is a recent favorite of mine. It seems perfectly natural for a snack brand to talk about movies, because snacking and the big screen go hand-in-hand. (Disclaimer: We don’t condone bringing your own snacks into movie theaters) Plus, their approach is authentic, on voice – and they’ve selected to leverage moments in pop culture that their fans care about IRL.

Oreo Star Treck


Speaking of obscure holidays, before the days of social media, Brothers and Sisters Day went unrecognized by most. (At least it did for me – sorry, sis!) Though this year, I noticed the holiday for the first time ever via posts from friends on social media. I saw several brands jump in on the action, but this post from Pepsi really stood out for me. It was clever, authentic and still on brand voice – obscure holiday or not.

Pepsi Brothers and Sisters Day\


Lastly, this pre-Superbowl post from Luvs Diapers also caught my eye because it doesn’t overtly try to sell me, and it capitalizes on a major topic in pop culture while also staying true to the brand voice and the actual conversations the fans (i.e., Luvs moms who “say what everyone else is thinking”) are likely having about the topic. As one of these moms, I can attest to that:

Luvs Football

Brands Using Pop Culture on Facebook… Not So Well

Many brands can’t do this funny and tongue-in-cheek approach to pop culture – and that’s okay. The problem is, I’ve seen brands go this route when it just doesn’t align to their brand.

While it may be on brand to have a lighthearted tone, fans would likely be more apt to engage with lighthearted content that’s on target with the everyday conversations they are actually having.

Rather than trying to leverage current pop culture trends, participate in the dialogue happening around your brand online.

The Bottom Line

I am firm believer that brands should share timely content and leverage news and pop culture within their social media communities, but only if the topic aligns to the brand’s community promise and social voice.

Many brands can still be funny – in fact, please do! Your fans and followers are looking to social media as a means of entertainment. Be sure that the content is relevant and stays true to you and your community and you’ll likely see strong engagement as a result.

What brands do you think are doing a good job leveraging pop culture in a funny or entertaining way?

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