Social Media Case Study: How Do Innocent Use It?
Innocent Drinks (known as innocent) is one of the most well-known smoothie and juice companies in the UK. Over the last few years, innocent have made a name for themselves as social media kings in their own right. As their social media presence grows, so does their audience of innocent brand loyalists and casual brand fans.
The Core of Innocent
The company was founded in 1999 by graduates from Cambridge, who originally started selling their smoothie creations at a festival. They asked customers to vote on whether they should quit their full-time jobs to make smoothies by putting their empty cups into a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ bin. Right from the beginning, innocent have always been all about the consumer’s experience.
Starting with smoothies, innocent have expanded their range of products into: smoothies, dairy-free milk, juices and juice “shots”, sparkling juice/water blend, kids drinks and fruit tubes, and coconut water.
Branding-wise, innocent portray an inviting, colourful, and playful aesthetic with bright colours and lowercase, easy-to-read font.
Innocent’s Social Media Following
Innocent have a presence on most of the main social media channels, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being the most popular.
Twitter: 300k followers
Instagram: 129k followers
LinkedIn: 118k followers
YouTube: 9.74k subscribers; 43.5m views
Pinterest: 7.7k followers
Bursting with Fruity Humour
Innocent approach their customers with a personal, friendly tone. They’ve found the right balance of humour and product-sharing that businesses often struggle with. While they still share a lot of products and promotions on their feeds, they do so in humorous and relatable ways, often highlighting the person behind the post.
For example, here we see a tweet from innocent for 33% off smoothies in partnership with Wasabi UK. Often innocent will jokingly refer to being “told” or “ordered” to post something. This brings them down to an individual, human level which helps reduce the annoyance of product offers/sales tweets so widespread across social media.
The image itself is humorous and mocks ads of a similar nature, while also remaining attention-grabbing and getting the point of the promotion across to the reader.
It’s difficult for businesses to get the balance of selling, educating, and entertaining right, often requiring a lot of trial and error. Innocent lean more towards satirical and playful social media posts, with customer service and product-selling interwoven throughout. The business has developed a social sense of humour that’s good for all the family, with content that is light-hearted and – dare I say it – innocent.
Celebrity Juice & Pulp-ular Culture
Innocent know what their audience want – videos, GIFs and photos of cute animals, humorous puns, and posts that mock popular culture. innocent’s social media is always on-trend and they keep up to date with the latest content.
Innocent are self-aware and acknowledge marketing clichés, such as hashtag holidays. They claimed that ‘Blue Monday’ was not a real day, as it was invented by someone in marketing. This postmodern social media tactic is refreshing and transparent. It’s a different way to market to a generation that honour honesty and transparency.
Their office, rightly named Fruit Towers, was voted the fourth coolest office in the UK in 2017 and seems to be the hub for young, intelligent staff to come up with new marketing and product ideas. The office reflects the company’s cheeky nature with park benches and fake grass floors.
Innocent chooses their relationships with celebrities and influencers carefully. We see paid sponsorships and product endorsements everywhere on modern social media, especially with the rise of influencer marketing, so innocent thinks outside of the box when it comes to campaigns.
Duncan from Blue… Drink
Featured in their ‘highlights’ thread from 2021, Innocent partnered with Duncan from the band Blue to promote their new “blue drink” in 2019. In addition to a funny video featuring Duncan wondering “will I get paid for this?”, the thread sparked a humorous debate regarding whether the drink is actually blue or not that is still going on today.
With the “blue or green” debate still happening, innocent recently quote-tweeted Nintendo with a funny jab at the colour of the “blue” Nintendo Switch Lite.
Getting involved in discussions with other successful companies online is a great way to increase your exposure, and innocent does this brilliantly with both organic and promoted content.
For April Fool’s in 2021, innocent paired with Heinz UK to create a light-heartedly controversial combination: Smoothies + Soup = SMOUP. Cue many disgusted comments hoping it’s a joke, and brand loyalists loving the extra attention for the brand, and you’ve got a successful April Fool’s Prank!
Innocent’s Social Media is as Smooth as Orange Juice…with No Bits
Those in charge of innocent’s social media respond quickly and appropriately to their customers. If a customer has a genuine complaint, it is dealt with accordingly and in line with the situation.
However, if an individual tweets the company something they deem unnecessary, then the company will also respond in the same, sassy way. It’s a social media & customer service technique that is working for them, with their quirky replies often generating a lot of engagement from brand loyalists/fans.
Whether it’s related to their quirky office, delicious fruity concoctions, or their young generation orientated content, innocent has become a huge social media presence that certainly won’t be blending into the background any time soon.
Editor’s note: This article was last updated in 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance in April 2021.