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Recipe for a Social Teaser
How brands build hype before a big announcement.
Nothing hits like a good teaser post. And nothing flops like a bad teaser post.
From celebrity partnerships to product launches, all types of big announcements are hinted at across platforms before the big reveal. These types of posts often get your existing audience excited for what’s to come, make them feel like they are in on a secret, and should hopefully encourage them to comment and share with their followers. In this newsletter I am going to highlight a few successful tactics from various brands and break down why they work.
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The Grid Wipe Tease
To announce their Cactus Plant Flea Market box, McDonald’s wiped (well, archived) their grid and slowly teased out the partnership with posts like this and this. The grid was wiped September 26th, the first teaser post went up later that day, the second teaser post went up September 27th, and the partnership was formally announced October 3rd. It was a steady drumbeat of “WTF is going on” to “What are these new characters?” to “Oh shit, McDonalds is doing something with Cactus Plant Flea Market, I wonder what?” to ultimately revealing the adult happy meal box. By kicking things off with a grid wipe, it automatically intrigued the consumer and let them know something big was coming. While I think wiping the grid might be less effective for a smaller brand, I do think the steady drumbeat of clues that McDonald’s left was a nice cadence for how to tease a big partnership. Felt like a scavenger hunt without being corny.
The Per Platform Tease
Cool beauty brand Saie teased the same partnership launch very differently on Instagram and TikTok. On Instagram, they used a polished, beautiful video of the product with very few clues of the partnership. On TikTok, they posted a personality-forward video using a trending sound to hint at the partnership—giving away a few more clues than on Instagram. Like we all know, oftentimes the same asset can kill on one platform and tank on another. Really smart of Saie to create two different assets that were platform-optimized, each performing well and successfully teasing a big partnership announcement.
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The Educational Tease
I love this teaser from Omsom for their MSG shaker. It hooks you in with engaging (and enraging) old news clips about how the product they are literally about to launch is "bad for you”. The video is then interrupted by their founders explaining how they want to flip the narrative on MSG and to stay tuned. It does a lot of things right: hooks you in, uses their founders to add personality, and ultimately educates you on why this product should exist.
The Slow Tease
A few days before underwear brand Parade launches any new collection of theirs, they will lightly tease it using UGC, iconic pop culture moments, and more. It’s not exactly a one-beat teaser, but more of a light dusting of teases throughout the week. For example, before they launched their Summer Daisy collection they posted this fun video. And before they launched their silky mesh collection they posted this shareable photo. They also typically do a color naming giveaway challenge ahead of a new launch which always sparks lots of engagement and gets their audience super attentive right ahead of a big announcement. Followers often miss posts, so by lightly teasing a week before a new launch, Parade is able to make sure their core audience knows something is coming.
The BTS Tease
Have there been times where you have a campaign ready to go and you’re like “Uh, we forgot to make a teaser!”? Well, the BTS tease is a great solution! I love this one from The Veil Brewing Co. It grabs your attention (there’s pumpkin pie in this beer!) and also gives you a peek behind the curtain of how it came together. A great low-lift teaser that still gets you excited for the launch.
The Spoiler Alert Tease
Throwing a CAVA example in here (yes, I work with them!) but I promise it’s relevant. When we wanted to tease that we paired up Emma Chamberlain and Claire Saffitz for a YouTube video we basically just told our audience what was going to be happening. There was no mystery or “guess who?” moment. We simply posted this slideshow of a photo of them together plus a clip of Emma talking about Claire in one of her old videos with a caption of “The crossover event we’ve all been waiting for. Tomorrow on YouTube.” It felt important to post a teaser that felt super shareable ahead of the video drop to make sure as many people as possible knew it was going to happen. Sometimes the best teaser is just giving it (almost) all away upfront. McDonald’s and Netflix also recently executed this tactic on Twitter with much success.
The No Tease
From the looks of it Liquid Death rarely teases their announcements. They seem to always have something going on (partnership with Martha Stewart, sponsoring a hydration assistant aka “waterboy”, workout vids with Bert Kreischer, and more) and yet no teasers. They are just…announced. Even when they did a new product release of flavored water, it was a simple photo of the products (no teaser) that simply stated they have flavored sparkling water now. It racked up over 53k likes, a clear top performer. For this brand, I actually think this tactic works. They are announcing things seemingly every week—no time to tease, only time to announce.
To recap, here are some things to think about as you plan the teaser for your next big brand announcement:
Make sure you are taking into account how this teaser will show up on different platforms—maybe even tweak the teaser depending on where you plan to post it.
Don’t tease too far out! It should be a steady drumbeat of teasing until the product launch.
You can use your teaser to educate your audience on why this product launch is necessary. Show them why they’ll need this product in their life!
A low-lift teaser option is to share BTS from the shoot or the making of the product.
If you want your teaser to be shareable and gain traction (you do), you’ll need to give a little bit away! I ultimately think it’s good when people in the comments are guessing who or what it is. If it’s too vague, it won’t get shared.
Sometimes teasing an announcement isn’t necessary! Decide if it’s right for your brand.
What other types of teasers have you seen? Are there any memorable ones you want to share? Leave a comment on this post!