Been seeing some new creative for Wheat Thins (Nabisco/Kraft), done by The Escape Pod in Chicago. (Full disclosure: I’m a fan of Vinny Warren and his agency and Lord knows I’ve done my share of work for Kraft.) From an execution standpoint, the commercials are variations on one of advertising’s oldest formulas, the man-on-the-street. Heck, Candid Camera did stuff like this in the fifties. But seen through the prism of social media, the old saw has new teeth, making the campaign fun and timely. The work also supports my view that modern “social” advertising is quite a bit more old-fashioned and promotional than the So-Me gurus like to think.

The concept? Wheat Thins monitors Twitter for dubious comments regarding the cracker –or is it a snack? When they find one that suits their agenda, Wheat Thins sets out in a branded van, locates the Tweeter, confronts him or her on camera, and after a bit of repartee, rewards the surprised person with boxes of product. It’s done to look on the fly (shaky camera, video as opposed to film) and for all I know it is. The commercials aren’t in themselves remarkable. But by monitoring and reacting to a twitter feed, the brand makes a contemporary statement.

The other cool thing about this work is the copy comes from the consumer, in the form of real tweets. For example, one called-out tweet challenges the campaign’s integrity, calling it “uber-fake.” The brand team shows up: “Am I uber fake? Does that pallet of Wheat Thins look uber fake?” By capitalizing on uber reality the brand seems relevant and fresh -good things if you’re a snack.

For more on this campaign, an article from the New York Times.