Since Turning ‘Batkid’ Into a Viral Phenomenon, This Agency Has Made the Most of Social Media

San Francisco-based Clever calls on a network of 5,000+ influencers

Founders of Clever (l. to r.): president and chief evangelist Stefania Pomponi; CEO Cat Lincoln; and chief innovation officer Kristy Sammis. Courtesy of Clever
Headshot of Erik Oster

If you logged on to social media at any point in 2013, you probably read about “Batkid,” the 5-year-old cancer patient who got to spend a day as his favorite superhero thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“Batkid remains our proudest work to date,” said Stefania Pomponi, founder, president and chief evangelist at Clever, the San Francisco agency that helped turn the heartwarming story into a viral phenomenon. “It put us on the map as an influencer marketing agency and proved what just a handful of influencers sharing something that’s happening can do.”

Since then, Clever has leveraged its network of more than 5,000 influencers for brands including Clif Bar and Lenovo. Last year, the agency debuted “United States of Cookies” for Bob’s Red Mill, which featured 50 bloggers from 50 states sharing representative cookie recipes. Launched on Facebook Live with support from Martha Stewart, it led to 50 million social impressions and drove 300,000 page views for the brand.

Founder and chief innovation officer Kristy Sammis believes influencer marketing can now compete with programmatic and provide answers to brand safety woes. “It has the authenticity that programmatic doesn’t have,” she explained. “When we first started out, brands were afraid to work with influencers because it might be brand unsafe. Fast-forward, and now human beings are more likely to be brand safe.”


This story first appeared in the Sept. 18, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.