Corporate Eye

Energizing Your Brand Through the Media: Act II Popcorn Finds a Way

Act II popcorn has been around for quite some time and perhaps even appears in a lot of our cabinets at home. Their popcorn (in my own opinion) is light, awfully good and buttery and is just perfect for a movie night at  home or with friends. It’s even good with a 52-hour movie stint, something Act 11 did a few years back that caused them to buzz the market and explode with their product.

Act II Popcorn, parent-owned by the Conagra Foods Company, held a movie fest/movie marathon that was used to introduce their newest product into the market. History begins with its predecessor—ACT I, an early microwave popcorn that had to be stored in the refrigerator. In 1984 ACT II, a shelf-stable microwave popcorn, hit the stage. It was the first mass-marketed microwave popcorn. ACT II has brought Americans many firsts since then, including the first flavored microwave popcorn, the first fat-free microwave popcorn, and the first kettle-corn-variety microwave popcorn.

To introduce this concept and product to the consumers, Act II held a movie fest which lasted for approximately 52 hours at the Heights Theatre in Columbia Heights, MN.

Con Agra foods was holding the ACT II popcorn “pop fest” at the Heights, which broke the (then) worlds record of continuous movie watching. The first movie started on Friday Morning at. 9:30AM, and the last movie did not end until 7:00PM on Sunday night.

The participants could have ALL of the popcorn they desired, with 15 minute incremental breaks at designated periods, but NONE of the participants at any time could fall asleep or leave the theatre. They were competing for a Guinness Book of World Records championship. The winners of the movie competition would receive a year’s worth of Act II popcorn free, their faces on specially marked packages and the chance to claim bragging rights in the Guinness Book. And all of this for doing something that really is fun: watching a movie and eating hot-buttered popcorn.

This clever act of advertising, media relations, branding and marketing helped to make Act II a popular popcorn with a hard-to-forget creative branding strategy. Their goal was to embed the image and thought of their product into their customers minds, and create a desire for their product for the next time they’re in the grocery store on the popcorn aisle. Has it happened to you yet? Are you an Act II popcorn eater? Does their marketing strategy work on you?

What was so clever about this campaign is that they involved, heavily involved, the participation of their customers and made it fun for them to interact. The marathon lasted for about three days or so, and was just enough time for the product to create a buzz and gain media attention. (YouTube News)

Conagra Foods actually ran this campaign over a year ago, but the residuals are still evident today. The company is still enjoying profitable increases in their stock with a growing and successful product line. Is is all or partly due to the Act II commercial? Not really of course, but it is branding strategies like this that can help a corporate entity establish themselves as a market leader and a competitive force. Kudos to whomever the advertising executive or committee was who thought of this type of marketing strategy. It did well for the brand!

What kind of creative things can you think of that would explode your brand? Would your company be willing to try anything that would bring them exposure? Is it worth it to them or is it something that is reserved only for the “creative brands?”

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Bridget Wright

Writer, Blogger
I am a freelance writer, blogger and professional motivational speaker. I primarily focus on business content, offering my clients strategic marketing strategies for their businesses. I have been an entrepreneur for over 13 years, after having worked extensively in corporate America.
Amanda Hitchcock

I am extremely dissapointed with act 2 popcorn. I have bought this brand for my fiancee,and the bags have burnt or not popped through the entire way for EVERY bag in the box the last two times of purchase. I recommend not buying this junk. I will be getting ahold of the corporate offices.

Amanda, I’m sorry to hear that your Act II popcorn experience was disappointing. I buy it frequently for my kids and they love it! Did you take your bags or box back to your store of purchase? I’m sure if you bring it to the store manager’s attention they would provide some system of recourse. I wish you the best and keep me updated on what restitution they offer you. I’m curious to see how they respond. Thanks for your input!

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