Brands with Sassy Comebacks

Being serious works for some brands. But others love to kick-back and have a bit of fun, especially on social media. In fact, some companies have become renowned for their jaw-dropping and sassy comebacks. And we love them for it. In a sometimes toxic social media landscape, we all need to smile. Here’s my pick of the top brands with sassy comebacks.

#1 Wendy’s  

Good brands have a strong tone of voice and are consistent with the way they interact with consumers. This is certainly the case for Wendy’s, a fast-food chain that makes a habit out of being edgy, funny and outrageous across their social channels. Don’t let their cute logo of the little girl with pigtails fool you. This is a snarky and hilarious brand. The brand’s tweets garner thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets, which is of course great for outreach and improved brand exposure online.

They even playfully bash competitors in a bid to get people talking. And it works. By keeping a look out for tweets that lend themselves to a sassy reply, Wendy’s is great at staying relevant.

Top Tip for Brands: Use social listening tools to monitor social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, products and more. Digital conversations can then be analysed for insights to discover an opportunity to act. Check out this cheeky exchange between McDonald’s and Tesla. By tagging relevant brands you can also get more eyes on your post.

Wendy’s sharp-tongue also allowed them to take things a step further, with the brand coming up with #NationalRoastDay for maximum attention. Every year, on January 12, Wendy’s takes to Twitter to absolutely broil people over the internet, and they really outdid themselves this year. Believe it or not, people actually want to be broiled, with Wendy’s encouraging people to drop a ‘roast me’ comment for a tailored comeback. This annual event is the perfect way to boost engagement online, with the unique hashtag making content easy to find.

Don’t forget to use branded and non-branded hashtags to help your content stand out. But not too many. Twitter recommends a maximum of two hashtags per post as a ‘best practice’ so don’t get hashtag happy and instead think carefully about what your campaign is about and what hashtag would be appropriate. As a rule of thumb, never piggyback off hashtags that mean nothing to your brand. Instead, try to create your own trends and traditions that can be associated with your company. Remember, consumers love consistency.

#2 Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea is a brand that knows how to use relevant and timely content to their advantage and can regularly be seen having fun with followers in the comments section. As Storm Eunice battered the UK, Yorkshire Tea made the following post.

This was something of a genius marketing move considering a record 200,000 concurrent live viewers tuned into BigJetTV to watch planes struggling to land in strong winds at Heathrow Airport. The post shows Yorkshire Tea’s ability to pick up trending topics and use them to spark conversations and witty comebacks. By tagging BigJetTVLIVE they also tapped into an audience that was active online at that particular time and interested in the BigJetLive activity.

Top Tip for Brands: Watch trending topics, global themes, popular challenges and more to see how you can get involved. This will keep your content relevant and show followers that you’re on point with your social content. It’ll also allow you to explore wider audiences with topic-specific interests. The original post sparked a host of comments, to which Yorkshire Tea had a host of funny and sassy replies.

#3 Innocent Drinks

Innocent Drinks are no strangers to controversy. They’ve been pulled up on multiple occasions by the Advertising Standards Authority including recently when their TV ad featuring a singing otter didn’t quite hit the mark. That said, they regularly make us chuckle on Twitter and have built a reputation for being sharp with their social replies.

Like Yorkshire Tea, Innocent is good at sparking discussions over current affairs. When the world got frankly overexcited about it being 22/2/22, the brand posted the below tweet.

This, of course, led to a whole string or responses, with Innocent closely monitoring the comments section for the chance to make a witty reply. And they found their moment, more than once. Here are some of our favourite comments.

Top tip for brands: Don’t just post and run. In order to maximise engagement and really flaunt your personality as a brand, it’s essential to stay focussed on the comments section. Then, whether you get putdowns, banter, or any other kind of comeback you can be there to respond appropriately.

Speaking of 22/2/22, Charmin was another social media comic to get involved with this marvellous day of symmetry. Of course a ‘number 2’ is well connected to toilet humour and so Charmin made good use of this by creating a #Charmin2sday tag to accompany all kinds of awesome social media activity. This included a giant poo emoji floating past the Statue of Liberty which was widely picked up online. Charmin took the chance to monitor comments and came back with a host of sassy tweets.

Top Tip for Brands: While some content should be created, other content can be curated to save time. Retweeting is a great way to maintain brand exposure without having to invest in content production from scratch. According to research, the sweet spot is a 60/40 ratio of content curation vs content creation. This suggests that the lion’s share of time should be dedicated to finding, annotating, and sharing content of the highest quality.

#4 MoonPie

Confectionary brand MoonPie act like cheeky high school students on their social pages. They’re loveable trouble makers who love nothing more than to stir the pot and cause trouble. All in the name of fun and I’m here for it. Check out the below tweet which was purposely posted to get people’s attention. Giving followers something they can get their teeth into is a good marketing technique as MoonPie knows they’ll have further opportunity to engage with followers.

They then monitored the comments section to launch further MoonPie mischief on their followers.

The content is written in such a way that they can even protest their innocence if thing start getting a little bit too sassy.

Top tip for brands: Whether you’re using humour, being sassy or controversial, always think of ways to get your target market talking. Look at your demographics to see who your social media content is aimed at. From there, you can tweak your tone of voice to ensure your audience will appreciate your brand style. Asking questions or making edgy comments that you know are up for debate are two ways to get people engaging with your branded channels. Of course, this won’t work for every brand. Having a solid social media strategy and sticking to it is key.

MoonPie also uses social listening tools to identify relevant topics so that they can fuel their social media channels with valuable content. Again, look how they’ve tagged NASA to boost the MoonPie brand’s visibility.

Top Tip for Brands: The more you retweet and engage with brands online, the more likely they are to do the same. This helps to develop healthy brand engagement and gives followers a chance to get involved in funny interactions too, complete with brand mentions for extra exposure. While MoonPie tags NASA, NASA Moon is also keen to engage.

#5 Skittles

Storytelling is a great way to generate interaction online and this is something Skittles does well across social media. One particular thread that stood out in recent days came from a so-called Skittles intern who claimed to be responsible for ordering the office party pizza, tagging Blaze Pizza in the process. Blaze Pizza responded resulting in this reply from Skittles.

The collab got even more interesting when brands such as Heelys suggested putting skittles on the pizza itself.

This resulted in a weird and wonderful Skittles pizza creation and a brilliant ‘story of success’ post by the intern who thanked people for saying they should be promoted to manager.

Top Tip for Brands: Go with the flow. Social media can get crazy but if you listen to consumer comments and bounce off brands, the results can be really interesting. Don’t forget to tag those you collaborate with as a thank you for boosting your engagement.

#6 SunnyD

When it comes to social media marketing, many brands overcomplicate things or make their content so dry that it’s bypassed by followers. Sometimes, the simplest of posts can get the most engagement as this tweet by SunnyD shows.

Obviously, this is a highly provocative post that tempts people to take action even if they don’t want to. After posting this little teaser, SunnyD then pounced into the comments when necessary to add an extra cupful of sass.

Top Tip for Brands: Retweets are a crucial marketing tool. So think of ways to get noticed. In order for your content to be picked up by others and shared it must be:

  • On trend – as we’ve seen, talking about relevant topics is a great way to hook people into what you have to say. You can also use trending hashtags to drive followers to your platforms.
  • Useful – think about what your target audience wants to see and read. Think about their pain-points and the questions they ask to find you online. This will take some Google Analytics research, but it’ll help you to create valuable content in the long-run.
  • Controversial – if you want to get people talking, you might choose to wade in on controversial topics. But think it though. Will it benefit your brand or bring unwanted attention and criticism.
  • Provoking – as you can see with SUNNYD, provocative content can work. You might even want to pin such content at the top of your Twitter account or pin a provocative comment on Instagram to ensure it gets maximum traction.

Sassy Comeback Rule List:

As you can see, brands like Innocent Drinks, MoonPie and many others aren’t afraid to be sassy. But it’s all done in good humour. To avoid landing yourselves in hot water, it’s important to:

  • Be fun without being rude or offensive.
  • Never make any remarks that could be considered sexist, racist, homophobic, or discriminatory in any way.
  • Never use offensive or sexual language as this goes against many social media policies.
  • Never evoke a bullying culture where you constantly target a single social media user – even if they’re coming for you. Don’t comment on the appearance, nationality or sexual persuasion of any particular follower.
  • Apologise if your content goes too far and causes some kind of serious backlash. Negative PR can be bad for business, so be prepared to post some kind of statement and make sure the issue is dealt with professionally.
  • Never get into a mud-slinging match on a platform. Instead, encourage people to contact you privately.
  • Learn when to step away. Have your fun and leave on a good note.

When creating your tone of voice document, make it very clear what’s allowed and what’s not allowed to be posted so that marketers, agencies and contractors are all aligned. You should also include things such as when and where to use emojis, GIFs and memes, if they’re even appropriate for your brand in the first place. Also, think about your signoff process. Anything you put out on your channels is a direct reflection of your brand as a whole.

What is your fave sassy brand? Do you have a particular campaign that makes you laugh? Tweet me @Charli_Says and let me know so I can follow them too. For expert social media management and TOV strategy, contact me.

Share This Article

About the author

Charlotte Day, known as Charli, is a content marketing strategist heading up social media and storytelling at Contentworks Agency. A content marketing thought leader, she has 1000+ articles published, guest writes for leading social media hubs and frequently speaks at events. She also maintains her own blog at www.charlisays.com and a writer’s life presence on social media. When she’s not writing and managing the agency, Charli enjoys swimming in the Mediterranean, writing poetry and reading.