The office of Web and new media commemorates April Fools’ Day with a prank on the Missouri State homepage.
This year, we sought to boost engagement by providing multiple platforms through which the Missouri State community could participate in the joke.
The prank (a battle between beloved mascot Boomer Bear and a sassy challenger called Scrapper Squirrel) allowed for the following:
- Voting via the Missouri State homepage
- Six integrated content pieces on the Missouri State homepage
- Social media interaction through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
The creation of Scrapper Squirrel
The campaign strategy began with the creation of Boomer’s rival.
Chris Austin, graphic designer in the office of Web and new media, developed the look for Scrapper, a cocky squirrel with a confrontational style. Thirty unique assets were created and distributed as part of the campaign.
Web and new media then designated a Twitter handle for Scrapper, which served as an outlet for the feisty upstart throughout the day.
— MSU Scrapper’s Crew (@MSU_Scrapper) April 1, 2015
Integrated, interactive homepage content
On April 1, the Boomer vs. Scrapper campaign claimed every content area on the Missouri State homepage.
- The main feature area allowed visitors to vote for either Boomer or Scrapper.
- Voters were given the option of sharing the vote as a status update on Facebook or Twitter.
- At a designated point in the day, the homepage feature flipped to reveal the joke and confirm Boomer’s status as Missouri State’s mascot.
Four, smaller feature areas were dedicated to the following content pieces:
- A news release announcing the consideration of a new mascot and encouraging members of the community to vote
- The video “An Analysis of Bears and Squirrels,” which featured members of the Missouri State community discussing the relative merits of each mascot
- An Instagram takeover by Boomer, who used photos to highlight his central role at Missouri State
- The video “The Case for Scrapper,” in which an anonymous mascot expert/squirrel enthusiast argued for change
Engagement and analytics
The voting process, multimedia content pieces and opportunities for participation on social media resulted in significant engagement with the April Fools’ Day campaign. Some highlights:
Voting via the Missouri State homepage
- 3,130 total votes
- Traditionalists will be pleased: Boomer won – 1,962 to 1,168
- The news release announcing the consideration of a new mascot garnered 1,422 pageviews
Missouri State Facebook
- 116,700 people reached
- 2,136 likes, comments and shares
- 1,974 clicks on campaign links
- 48 new fans
Missouri State Twitter
- 37,700 impressions
- 225 retweets, favorites and replies
- 559 clicks on campaign links
- 74 new followers
Missouri State YouTube
- 1,629 views for “An Analysis of Bears and Squirrels” and “The Case for Scrapper”
Missouri State Instagram
- 1,746 likes of Boomer’s eight takeover photos
Every member of Web and new media played a role in the development and execution of the April Fools’ Day campaign. Student videographer Sara Silkwood and programmer Chad Killingsworth also made valuable contributions.
In addition, the following members of the Missouri State community helped make this prank a success:
- President Clif Smart
- Suzanne Shaw, vice president for marketing and communications
- Dr. Stephanie Bryant, dean of the College of Business
- Dr. Tom Tomasi, associate dean of the Graduate College
- Derrick Docket, Missouri Valley Conference associate commissioner for new media & technology
- Dr. Mike Jungers, dean of students
- Art Hains, who (despite his enthusiasm for squirrels) is the irreplaceable voice of the Bears
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