When you think of influencer marketing, Vine, Instagram and YouTube personalities probably come to mind. But the folks at Sour Patch Kids think they've found a new, creative group to churn out the next wave of branded content—fan fiction writers.
For Valentine's Day, the Mondelez candy brand is running a contest on Wattpad—an online platform where writers share stories. Through tonight, members are invited to write love stories that end with a twist.
"What we've seen from teens is the idea that fan fiction is becoming more mainstream," said Lauren Fleischer, Mondelez's senior associate brand manager.
Over the past year, Sour Patch Kids has run similar Snapchat and YouTube programs, asking influencers to take over its social accounts by posting short clips and photos. Now with Wattpad, the candy company is tapping a different kind of online talent, known for writing long-form stories.
To help stir up story ideas, Sour Patch Kids picked three Wattpad influencers to write a few posts. One, When Miss Sweet Meets Mr. Sour, tells the story of a high-school romance. Another story, Sweet Summer Love, is about a girl who follows her long-time boyfriend on a rock tour.
Mondelez will pick 10 finalists for Wattpad's community to vote on. The company will then turn the winner's story into an animated digital film and promote it on Sour Patch Kids' social platforms.
"We're really just continuing to further build out our relationship with influencers," Fleischer said. "We know that these are the new celebrities for teens, and they have a much more authentic voice, so we're really putting our brand in their hands and allowing them to create on our behalf."