The 10 Most Surprising Brands on Tumblr
Tumblr is home to a wide array of brands, many of which produce incredulous double-takes—Bisquick? Fancy Feast? Fiji Water? Really?
With a majority of users who are 34 years old and younger, many of them teenagers, it’s a great place to build brand awareness with fresh-faced folks whose wallets are primed and ready to purchase. Visually-oriented lifestyle brands excel on Tumblr, and brands currently perceived as “niche” are trying to expand into that category.
Even Apple, famous for refusing to take part in social media, made its first foray into the medium with Tumblr (and no one else) this past week. Their animated page is devoted to the colorful, inexpensive iPhone 5c—a smart move as they try to draw in Tumblr’s core audience of teens and millennials.
Other than Apple, which brands are making a splash on Tumblr? We pulled out the top ten that made us say “hmmmm”:
Twitter has a Facebook page. Facebook has a Twitter profile. So what’s the big deal about Instagram being on Tumblr? It’s built into their framework. Instagram’s Tumblr blog isn’t just a profile on a different social network. Their corporate blog at http://blog.instagram.com is hosted through Tumblr.
Another head turner is that Instagram’s Tumblr content is shared on Twitter almost six times more often than on Facebook. As a Facebook network with deep integration, this is counter-intuitive, but may provide insight into why Instagram would use a Tumbr framework. The added sharing on Twitter bolsters their position and content.
The Instagram blog highlights topics that are either visually stunning, popular on Instagram, or both, like Mardi Gras 2014, the Academy Awards and favorite submissions to the Weekend Hashtag Project, which asks users to take creative photos and videos around an Instagram-designated hashtag. Their business blog also has a home on Tumblr at http://instagram-business.tumblr.com/.
What’s surprising: One major visual social network using another visual social network as part of its infrastructure? Pretty surprising to us.
The tagline: Follow as we explore the changing worlds of science and technology. GE’s Tumblr page shows off a plethora of content, from historical (hip and retro!) photos of X-ray machine designs to robot arm GIF’s to heart-warming employee insights: “GE employees asked the youngest members of their families to explain what they do. Sydney, age 3, said, ‘My mom works on things that shows mommies their babies before they’re born.’ “
What’s surprising: Who could’ve predicted General Electric would have a strong presence on Tumblr, a social media platform that’s heavy on fresh visual content and popular mainly among the very young? Not us, but the numbers don’t lie on this report from 2/28/14-3/4/14—a testament to the power of consistently turning out eclectic engaging content and a great example of how Tumblr can be used to help redefine a brand.
The Yahoo Finance Tumblr page features timely, relevant news from its main page http://finance.yahoo.com/ in a clean and Yahoo-appropriate format.
What’s surprising: Yahoo Finance’s strong presence on Tumblr is totally expected on one level, since Yahoo bought Tumblr last year and the two brands want to support one another. On the other hand, Yahoo Finance already has its own site, and it’s surprising that Yahoo would update daily elsewhere, possibly driving traffic away from its main base. Does Yahoo hope that a consistent Tumblr presence will drive new users over to its main site and build awareness for its brand in a gamine market that previously might not have been paying attention?
This site is “powered by” Prevacid, Gas-X, and Benefiber. Its mission is to promote “a better digestive health” (and its digestive issue-relieving products, of course). Featuring a wide range of informative scientific articles with titles like, “You Are What You Eat: The Link Between Digestive Health And Wellness” and “The Gut-Brain Connection,” this encyclopedic Tumblr blog is heavy on words and much lighter on engaging visuals than most Tumblr blogs.
What’s surprising: This blog (like the products it recommends) seems to be directed at an older audience, a surprising move for a brand on Tumblr.
Barbour’s Tumblr site currently focuses on celebrating its 120-year anniversary with a vivid layout featuring an image for every letter in the alphabet. When you click on a letter, you get a little piece of Barbour history. The dropdown menu up top takes you to other innovative Barbour blogs, like Barbour People, which showcases people on the street rockin’ Barbour jackets. A feature called “Barbour Pocket” even lets followers show what they’re carrying in their spacious Barbour outerwear for an additional social element.
What’s surprising: Barbour is a brand known for quality craftsmanship that’s built to last and a legendary pedigree—not necessarily what you’d associate with the hip-and-happening Tumblr space. This is a great move, though, as the brand balances remaining relevant with younger generations and maintaining its tried-and-true heritage reputation.
It’s the Tumblr destination for pom porn, not that you even knew you were in the market for such a thing. With robust content including recipes, partnerships and interviews with pomegranate-loving chefs, inspirational images of pomegranates, pomegranate heritage (see above) and Pom 101 (pomegranate basics), it’s a ingenious way of turning a tiny fruit into a total lifestyle.
What’s surprising: It’s a bustling enriched-content blog…about the pomegranate. This blog shows off what Tumblr does best: curating tons of connected content around a specific interest, item or inspiration.
7. Fancy Feast
This Tumblr page is truly strange. It’s earnest cheese advice from Murray’s Cheese first Vice-President, including pairing recommendations and recipes—with an aim towards advertising Fancy Feast’s new cheese-enhanced signature cat food.
What’s surprising: The use of human-centric content to sell cat-centric product and the lack of adorable cat photos, which are always a hit on the internet, and usually adept at selling cat food.
8. Holiday Inn
This Tumblr page was put together to publicize Holiday Inn’s billion-dollar brand refresh. With a Pinterest-style layout and a nice mix of content, from inspirational quotes and toes in the sand to customer pictures, there’s a bright, vibrant potpourri of images for followers to look at.
What’s surprising: Holiday Inn isn’t typically thought of as a “cool” lifestyle brand you’d expect to find on visual social media. More like the kind of place you settle for on the road when you’re exhausted and haven’t made a reservation elsewhere. And maybe that’s the point—Holiday Inn’s using Tumblr for what it does best: visually creative branding (and rebranding).
9. Random House
Random House’s Tumblr page pimps all things literary and/or related to their authors, from GIF’s to quotes to article links to excerpts. It’s a one-stop shop for all things deliciously wordy.
What’s surprising: Writers, readers and librarians are incredibly active on Tumblr. For many in the field, it’s the social media medium of choice. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that publishers cultivate their Tumblr presence daily.
The Bisquick Tumblr page revels in all things pancake. Pancakes with lucky charms embedded. Pancakes filled with poppyseeds and sprouting lemons. According to Bisquick, the pancake possibilities are endless. The site section “Pancake Runway” offers the most good-lookin’ pancake pictures we’ve ever seen, while “Pancake Artists” shows off special designs, “Mancakes” pairs all things manly with all things pancake, and “Memory Lane” features vintage Bisquick ads for over-the-top nostalgia points.
What’s surprising: That there’s a Tumblr page devoted to pancakes. But hey, there are tons of weirdly specific pages on Tumblr. That’s not the real surprise. The real (happy) surprise is that Bisquick, a kitchen staple typically used by adults, specifically parents, in the kitchen, is getting to work now to ensure that they’re the next generation’s staple, too.
To analyze your own Tumblr blog, take a look at our full suite of Tumblr Analytics and what they can teach you about your brand.
I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.