Big Brands Leverage #PolarVortex But Did Mayhem Steal The Show?


Aishwarya Krishnamurthy

August 8, 2014 4 min read

Updated on September 19, 2019

One of the lessons we learnt in 2013 is that almost every event; social, political or environmental, can be a marketing opportunity. From the Royal Baby to the Super Bowl blackout, social media allows brands to quickly join a conversation while the topic is still trending. It doesn’t require the kind of strategizing and planning that a full blown campaign would require, although it does require giving agencies more creative freedom to execute. As we begin 2014, a star opportunity in the form of the polar vortex presented itself and some brands quickly and cleverly leveraged the trending hashtag. Unmetric has analyzed a couple of brands with the most engaging or interesting posts.

1. Mayhem – Engagement Score: 205

The social media elves behind the infamous insurance mascot brilliantly tied together the polar vortex with the carefully cultivated destructive persona of Mayhem. In this simple post, Mayhem took credit for the climate event in his own dismissive way and incited a flood of engagement from fans. Apart from the post itself, Mayhem also replied to some individual comments, in true character, giving the worst advice in relation to preparing for the storm.

2. Avon – Engagement Score: 73

The polar vortex certainly lends itself to certain sectors more than others, and one of the brands that cleverly capitalized on the situation was Avon. Knowing that dry skin is an inevitable side effect of the cold winds, Avon provided fans with the perfect solution. Instead of simply joining the ‘topic of the day’, Avon not only highlighted one of their products in a timely and relevant manner, the post also expressed concern for their affected fan base, which resonated well with fans.

3. Jägermeister – Engagement Score: 8

As I said earlier, the polar vortex does lend itself to certain sectors. However, this doesn’t mean that unlikely brands can’t make the most of the situation, as long as it’s cleverly done. Doing ice cold shots in the middle of sub-zero temperatures may not be for everyone, but in reality it is very likely that there is a whole demographic going stir crazy while stuck at home. Perhaps a couple of fortifying shots of alcohol seems like the perfect way of unwinding and making the most of the enforced house arrest. With everyone in low spirits to mirror the low temperatures, Jägermeister acknowledged that even in these tough circumstances, we can still have a bit of fun!

4. Ford Trucks – Engagement Score: 133

Like Avon, Ford Trucks has the advantage of actually being useful during the polar vortex and has capitalized on this fact. To give credit where it’s due, Ford is one of the handful of brands to see the marketing opportunity provided by the polar vortex. In a very relevant way, it has brought attention to the durability and value of its trucks, especially in harsh weather conditions. In a brilliant move that deserves a special mention, the Ford Motor Company also brought attention to the Super Duty trucks in the polar vortex related post on their Facebook page. #SynergyForTheWin!

5. Wendy’s – Engagement Score: 96

While not explicitly using the polar vortex hashtag, one of the more popular related posts was from Wendy’s chain of restaurants. The post is a playful take on the barrage of ‘weather app screen shots’ that has filled all social networks since the beginning of the polar vortex. Wendy’s manages to stay brilliantly on topic with the polar vortex and stays on trend with the weather screenshot. Aside from the new nit-pickers commenting on the temperature of the chicken (which Wendy’s quickly and politely shut down), the comments section for the post has been largely appreciative.


1. Red Bull – Engagement Score: 232

Never one to let an opportunity slip by, the prolific tweeter joined the #polarvortex conversation by linking the tweet to an article on their blog about two adrenaline junkies who braved the cold to go surfing at 3 A.M! Very adventurous, very Red Bull.

2. L’Oreal Paris USA – Engagement Score: 929

In a triple whammy, L’Oreal Paris joins the polar vortex hashtag, presents one of its products, and promotes engagement with a “Follow and RT” competition in one tweet. Predicting the most relevant necessity, L’Oreal offers a chance to win their new Moisture Blur by following and retweeting the same tweet, thereby amplifying the reach of the contest as well as the new product. I would give them a well-deserved pat on the back for a well thought out tweet.

3. Victoria’s Secret – Engagement Score: 389

Expressing the not-so-secret wish of all East Coast women during the polar vortex, Victoria’s Secret imagined two extra keys added to a standard keyboard, one saying “escape the cold”, and the second saying “command bikini”. The whimsical post resonated well with their audience, with most comments concurring the wish for the end of the cold spell.


In the first ‘event’ of 2014 worthy of being leveraged, we found that some brands recognized the marketing opportunity, however, the number of brands were limited. Posts and tweets from the brands that did get involved were, for the most past, well executed and well timed. Moving forward it will be interesting to see how brands continue to leverage events in their social media strategy.


Unmetric compiled this report by sourcing data from its social media benchmarking platform. Facebook and Twitter statistics were gathered for the week between January 2nd to 9th. Click here to claim your 6 day free trial.

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