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SBJ/March 13-19, 2017/Media
He volunteered, and Bulls’ Instagram blew up
Published March 13, 2017, Page 12
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The team can thank local photographer Chuck Anderson for its most popular Instagram posts. Three years ago, Anderson didn’t like how the team was handling its Instagram and contacted the Bulls to offer his help.
“I was looking at their Instagram and thought I could help make it better,” he said. “I reached out. I threw out an idea to do an Instagram takeover.”
Over the next two seasons, the Bulls would hand their Instagram feed over to Anderson two or three games per month. A professional photographer, Anderson uploaded eight to 10 posts per game — pictures that attracted the most activity on the team’s feed, sometimes bringing in more than 50,000 likes.
|Bud Light cans in Chicago settings drive one of the Bulls’ Instagram efforts.
This season, the Bulls’ Instagram takeovers have reached a new level. The team hired Anderson as a program manager, and he has brought in several Chicago-area photographers to do Instagram takeovers during games.
With Bud Light signed on as a sponsor this season, each of the photographers was given a Bulls-branded can of Bud Light that he or she shoots from one of Chicago’s landmarks — photos that have proved to be popular with the Bulls’ nearly 3 million Instagram followers.
“For us, it’s huge because it’s creating a connection between the city of Chicago and the Bulls,” said Dan Moriarty, the Bulls’ digital director. “Re-establishing a connection between the city of Chicago and the Bulls is really important to us.”
Though it’s described as a “takeover,” the team still has control over what gets uploaded, though Moriarty said that the takeover photographers “have never given us cause for concern.”
The Bulls also have been innovative with their Snapchat account which has posted several popular videos as part of the social media platform’s Snapchat Stories. Programming has included spoofs of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” where Benny the Bull skips a meeting to tour around the city, and a murder mystery to figure out who deflated another mascot, Big Ben. The team is putting final touches on a take-off of “Beauty and the Beast” that will be released soon.
|A “murder” mystery became one of the Bulls’ Snapchat Story hits.
BMO Harris Bank signed up as the sponsor of this content series, which is shot with Chicago-based actors from The Second City. The most popular offering so far was the murder mystery, with around 55,000 watching more than 4 1/2 minutes — numbers that made Bulls executives ecstatic. (*Spoiler alert: Big Ben deflated himself because he found himself in a boring dinner conversation…)
“Talk to anyone who’s done branded content — that’s a long time with a lot of people,” Moriarty said. “With Snapchat, you’re not getting a tweet in the middle of a news feed. You’re not getting an Instagram picture in the middle of the news feed. You’re getting corner to corner of the phone. You’re owning that whole experience for the time period that a fan is watching that… It’s less about broad reach and more about going deeper into a relationship with the fans.”
John Ourand can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Ourand_SBJ.