Kahlua Holiday Campaign Demonstrates the Discovery Power of Pinterest

Kahlua was brand new to Pinterest but the most recent holiday campaign resulted in some long-tail success, including getting consumers to think of Kahlua in a whole new way.


When it came to holiday preparation, Pinterest became a big stress reliever. And no wonder, right? There are so many recipes and other DIY solutions available on the site. For Kahlua, this was the perfect time to run a Pinterest-based campaign and build brand awareness.

The campaign was a sweepstakes wherein followers were entered by pinning their favorite Kahlua inspired recipe. For a brand so new to Pinterest, the results were pretty astounding: 16,000 new email subscribers, 3,800 new Pinterest followers — up from 267 the previous month — and more than 10,000 contest related pins.

According to Apu Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder of Curalate, an analytics provider for visual social media, this campaign had a great long tail effect as well. “One of the things that’s so powerful about Pinterest is how much traffic it drives to your site,” he says, adding that repins from Kahlua’s website went up about 600 percent.

“When you look at most social campaigns, it’s like a one-time spike,” he says. “But that’s not the case with Pinterest.”

Gupta attributes this long tail success to the power of Pinterest as a discovery platform. He says, the hardest part is getting started, but once your content starts being shared on the platform it creates what Gupta called a reinforcing loop.

“If you can start exposing thousands of people to your site and then those people start discovering content that really speaks to them on your website, they start sharing and then thousands more people discover it,” he says.

Gupta pointed to a couple of lessons for other brands based on the success of the Kahlua campaign, the first of which is that it’s important to just get started. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the most popular brand on Pinterest — or any social media platform for that matter.

“What Kahlua demonstrated is that if you’re good at building a brand, your followers will follow you,” he said.

The second lesson, Gupta said, is that Pinterest isn’t just about retail and fashion. It’s about experiences, discovery and aspiration. In this way, he said, Kahlua really hit that note.

“If you look beyond social to the bigger business implications of this campaign,” Gupta said, “Kahlua helped consumers think beyond the beverage.” Indeed, the recipes shared from the site included chicken, sweet potatoes and glazed ham in addition to the more common use of Kahlua as an ingredient for mixed drinks.

“[The campaign] totally inspired consumers to look at Kahlua in new ways; to look at Kahlua as something you keep in the pantry,” he said.

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