Chocolate Chip Cookies Inspire Creative Marketing and Social Media

On May 15, National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day Trends On Social Media

hatch pepper chocolate chip cookies
Hatch Pepper Chocolate Chip Cookies by Salem Baking. Susie Wyshak

The chocolate chip cookie is the hands-down most American cookie out there.

(I know...I'm pretty obsessed with them myself.)

So it only makes sense for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15) to take the cake, in terms of food marketing promotion. This holiday makes for the perfect study of social media marketing, all excuses to eat cookies aside.

Wild twists on the chocolate chip cookie keep them coming back

We never tire of good old fashioned classics.

But bizarre flavor goes a long way in getting the buzz going, as it does with ice creameries ("Elvis: The Fat Years Ice Cream," anyone?)

That's partly because chocolate chip cookies make an excellent base for all sorts of experimentation and partly because they are just so perfect.

  • Momofuku milk bar in New York dishes out a Compost Cookie, a loaded with "pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, chocolate chips."
  • Denver's Victory, Love and Cookies crafted the perfect chocolate chip cookie for the adventure seeker, called Papa G's. This beast blends whiskey soaked dried cherries, toasted hazelnuts, milk chocolate chips, maple syrup, and a bit of buckwheat flour, courtesy of a request from owner Kristy Greenwood's dad.
  • Salem Baking concocts green-studded, spicy Hatch Pepper Chocolate Chip Cookies — available only seasonally when the New Mexico Hatch chile harvest takes place.
  • And Cookie Good in Los Angeles pays a nod to the entertainment industry with its Bad Robot chocolate chip cookie, a Red Velvet Cookie dough mixed with dark chocolate chips, Heath Bar bits and finish two yellow M&Ms for eyes.

    As a minor aside, along with these kitchen-sink cookie varieties, a hot trend in chocolate chip cookies is twisted is raw dough. Hampton Creek's Just Cookies leads the way as a delicious vegan chocolate chip cookie dough pretty much everyone eats with a spoon.

    Hampton Creek is a venture-funded company and launched its dough a very smart way: in foodservice, with Bon Appétit Management Company.

    This company powers more than 500 sustainable food-centric cafeterias across the country.

    Strangely enough, some of the most successful chocolate chip cookie marketing comes from a hotel with a good old-fashioned cookie.

    Doubletree by Hilton is not a cookie company. Obviously. But they have parlayed a long-time fanbase for the hotel's warm chocolate chip cookies, into a marketing and social media bonanza anchored by the theme and hashtag #CookieCare.

    The tradition of giving guests a warm chocolate chip walnut cookie began as a treat for VIP guests in the 1980s.

    Today DoubleTree by Hilton gives out approximately 77,000 chocolate chip cookies each day, totaling more than 28 million cookies annually packed with 1,000,000 pounds of chocolate chips. Christie Cookies manufactures the cookies in a co-packing agreement.

    Note: When you're trying to please millions of customers, a classic flavor (chocolate or vanilla) always works better than going the exotic route.

    How the Cookie Care campaign took off

    Starting in Spring 2014, Doubletree by Hilton set off a marketing frenzy that would make Willy Wonka jealous. It was all about promoting the hotel chain by celebrating the brand’s signature cookies, of which they have doled out more than 300 million worldwide.

    Across the country, chocolate chip cookie lovers — myself included — participated in all sorts of "Cookie Care" promotions in an attempt to score free Doubletree chocolate chip cookies (cookies that many a recipe developer has tried to reproduce).

    Specific marketing goals were to "increase brand awareness, brand engagement, and leverage DoubleTree's unique position as the only hotel brand to offer a warm chocolate chip cookie not only upon welcome but also in the streets to the public."

    The Shorty Awards entry lists some of the social media campaign's tremendous results, such as:

    • 18 Million people reached (paid and organic)
    • 26K New Facebook Fans (11% increase since the start of the campaign)

    Doubletree baked up several innovative marketing programs for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day 2015

    1. A partnership with Virgin America for a San Francisco treat — free chocolate chip cookies upon flight check in with Virgin at SFO.

    2. Free cookies for consumers everywhere on May 15 . People simply visit a Doubletree Hotel.

    3. A social media cookie giveaway campaign to build excitement around the #CookieCare hashtag that has been so popular.

    Several fans will receive special Cookie Care packages by engaging with Doubletree's accounts and the #CookieCare hashtag.

    See the power of hashtags by following #CookieCare in Doubletree's social media blitz:  Facebook, Twitter (also follow the hashtag #CookieCare on Twitter ) and on Instagram.