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Bob Gates, art director
Rick McHugh, writer
Bob Gates/Rick McHugh, creative directors
Joe Fallon, executive creative director
Lance Jensen, chief creative officer
Rob Erskine, interactive designer
Michael Walton, developer
Adam Cahill/John Running, technology directors
Marcio Lima, illustrator
Mark Wong, sound designer
Carissa Marlowe, producer
Hill Holliday, project design and development/ad agency

Launch Site

“As customization emerges to be one of the dominant trends of the decade, this playful use of digital technology delivers the ultimate in personalization.” —juror Tali Krakowsky

”The physical representation of tweets is fun, but putting them on the nostalgic candy for Valentine’s Day proved to be a perfect match.” —juror Jon Jackson

Overview: Sweethearts candies are a Valentine’s Day staple—they’ve been around since 1866. People are familiar with them, but it’s a challenge to make them seem modern and cool. The #tweethearts social campaign rejuvenated Sweethearts’ appeal by allowing users to create customized candy hearts by simply writing a tweet. After sending a personalized tweet to @tweethearts, users received a reply with an image of their message printed on a Sweethearts candy. They could then order the personalized candies for delivery, turning something digital into something physical.

Hill Holliday producer Chuck Woodard wrote and performed a romantic hip-hop song and video to promote the campaign.
Celebrity Mindy Kaling organically posted a #Tweetheart on her Instagram and Facebook profiles.
Users could get custom Sweethearts in five business days, from tweet to delivery.

Comments by Bob Gates and Rick McHugh:
What was the most challenging aspect of this project? Finding a simple way to turn tweets into custom Sweethearts candy was more complicated than it might seem. We needed to fit up to 140 characters on no more than 15 candies. But not all tweets are 140 characters long—some are really short. We tried different interfaces to let people customize their Sweethearts, but they all required too much effort. Ultimately, we landed on a one-step solution: tweet your message, then you get an image of your Tweetheart and a link to purchase.”

What was the response? “With absolutely no media dollars, we reached well over two million users. Buzzfeed also picked up #Tweethearts and featured it on its homepage in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, reaching more than 45,000 readers and helping @Tweethearts churn out six times the tweets. Fast Company, Yahoo, USA Today, the New York Times, boston.com and others ran stories, and Twitter’s official account referenced #Tweethearts as an example of best practices for brands on Twitter.


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