Odds are by now you’ve seen the viral
video of Candace Payne,
super-parent and Star Wars fan, absolutely loving
life in a Kohl’s Chewbacca mask.  The
video, which is merely her wearing a growling Chewbacca mask and laughing
hysterically, was uploaded onto Facebook on May 19, 2016 and has been viewed
over 150 million times.  Candace isn’t an
influencer, a celebrity, or a journalist.
She’s just a mom who appreciates “the simple joys in life” – the caption
of her now-viral video.

Kohl’s, the department store where Candace purchased her
Chewie mask, moved quickly to capitalize on the viral video.  The retailer addressed
the video
on its social media pages the next day.  Later that week, Kohl’s sent representatives
to gift Candace and her kids a ton of Star Wars products, including Chewbacca
masks for the whole family, $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards, and 10,000 rewards
points. The retailer documented the entire gifting process via their social
media channels through pictures and video.

Kohl’s gifting video has been liked nearly 700,000 times on
Facebook and viewed over 30 million times. On Twitter the video has been
retweeted over 2,000 times and liked roughly 3,500 times.  Kohl’s kept the positive momentum going by
responding to social media feedback directly, increasing circulation and
publicity.  On Monday morning, major
media outlets covered the story of Candace’s viral video—she even appeared
herself on Good Morning America.

Fortune estimates that the viral video has garnered more
attention than this year’s Academy Awards, which brought in 34.5 million
viewers—Kohl’s was the exclusive department store sponsor for the show.

Kohl’s quick-thinking led to a tremendous win for both their
brand and their bottom-line.  By virally
gifting Candace and her family Kohl’s products and points, the retailer played
the role of the “good guy.”  They’re a
big brand, but they haven’t lost their heart or their integrity; they care
about their customers.  For added bonus,
Kohl’s earned a colossal amount of free publicity, and went on to sell out of
Chewbacca masks.  

Kohl’s’ success should serve as an example to other big
brands—they illustrated the value of social media, brand awareness, and, most
importantly, character.

Share this article on Twitter and Facebook and join in the discussion!

Contributor: Jack Haandraadts, Account Coordinator at Marketing Maven