In a year full of Zoom holiday parties, cancelled sporting events and virtual 5Ks (if you’re into that kind of thing), brands still were offered a unique opportunity to connect with their audiences… and a couple of them have really shown up for their target market through partnerships with Bachelor Nation.
The Bachelor franchise has done what most brands could only dream of when it comes to creating a community. From podcasts to “stan” accounts, they’ve got all their bases covered, and brands are joining them left and right in the hopes of becoming a Bachelor Nation essential business (see what I did there?).
Take Smirnoff, for example.
The “Official Hard Seltzer of Bachelor Nation,” kicked off their partnership with the ABC show in January 2020 and soon unveiled their “Will You Accept this Rosé?" campaign. More recently and taking a cue from the Bachelor contestant playbook, they followed it up with their “Steal You for a Seltzer” campaign, promoting the launch of two new, zero-sugar, hard seltzers.
Similarly, Sourced Craft Cocktails, a cocktail kit delivery service, has partnered with Warner Bros. and The Bachelorette to promise the “Most Dramatic Cocktail Ever,” featuring none other than Smirnoff Zero Sugar Infusions (a personal favorite of mine).
Despite the fact that everyone is sitting on their couch in sweatpants for the foreseeable future, Smirnoff and Sourced Craft Cocktails found a way to create an immersive experience for their audience by showing up (okay, I’m done with the Clare Crawley references) for the fans & giving them a reason to talk about the brand.
Recently, the brand surprised a community of 300 Bachelor fans (known as #Bachletes) ahead of a virtual happy hour, which featured previous show contestants Blake Horstmann & Chris Lambert. Throughout the happy hour, Bachletes were awarded Smirnoff prize packages and even a few Sourced Cocktail Kits were delivered directly to their homes prior to the virtual event.
With that said, when a brand successfully identifies with their audience, their audience can quickly become influencers. For a firsthand look, check out the #Bachletes hashtag on Twitter and you'll quickly notice the amount of Smirnoff-tagged content. According to one of the event organizers, the organic content garnered more than 150K impressions.
While Smirnoff may have gotten the Bachletes' first impression rose, we know they aren’t the only brand here for the right reasons.
Last season, eight contestants were invited on a group date, which turned out to be a fashion show sponsored segment by fashion retailer Revolve. That was one of the first introductions to what's now a long-standing relationship between the show and the brand.
Though this love affair started pre-pandemic, Revolve has become a clothing staple among the women of Bachelor Nation. From these fashion show dates to influencer contracts after the season ends, Revolve has made certain that all the ladies are looking their best. This isn’t exclusive to the contestants, though. Fans of the show have easy access to the clothing worn by all of their favorite pseudo-celebrities, thanks to this partnership.
You might be thinking, “Celebrities are sponsored by brands all the time.” To that, I say, how often can the average person afford the pair of pumps they saw their favorite movie star (or even influencer) showing off on Instagram? That’s not the case with Revolve, though. When they created this partnership, they did what all brands should strive to do: They met the consumer where they were.
With contestant social media followings surpassing the million mark, Revolve has inserted itself in the conversation and strengthened the ties of Bachelor Nation by making their favorite outfits just a few clicks away. Whether you fell in love with the wedding dress, boldly worn by Hannah Ann Sluss, or Hannah Goodwin’s two-piece bathing suit pictured below, Revolve made it easy to match your favorite reality tv star and any Bachelor Nation friends.
As part of their 'Keep It Clean' campaign, Orbit Gum has been a sponsor of the ABC show since Pilot Pete's season and this year they were focused on building high level awareness but also supporting retail sales.
As part of a contest held in February, the brand capitalized on the obsessive nature of Bachelor Nation and gave them the opportunity to win a seat in the audience for a live taping of The Bachelorette.
In order to win a trip to LA and seat at a live audience taping, fans simply had to purchase Orbit gum and submit their receipt online or through the mail. Seems pretty low risk / high reward for the consumer, right?
Well, the consumer wasn’t the only one being rewarded. As part of this giveaway, the franchise allowed Orbit to use their branding in promotions and even shared some quality content to their Bachelor social channels, suggesting the contestants could use some help “keeping it clean.”
The gum brand has been focused on tying their product to dating culture for a long time, but the Bachelor partnership really brought that vision to life this year.
The Bachelor made Orbit-sponsored themed segments that included 'How To Become A Better Kisser', 'Nailing a First Impression' and 'The Secret To A Perfect First Date' -- but the brand went a step further and even partnered with Nick Viall, former Bachelor. The partnership with Nick Viall encouraged people to tweet their dating stories, tagging the brand, in order to win $75 for their next date.
When you look at the various executions together, Orbit did a fantastic job of tying their brand closer to dating culture and gave Bachelor fans some excitement surrounding what once was an ordinary convenience store purchase. And who doesn’t need a bit more excitement in their life these days?
I'd be remiss not to mention everyone’s favorite jeweler.
Over the course of the last decade, Neil Lane has become a household name for Bachelor Nation. When the contestants find love, his designs help seal the deal with some truly remarkable rings. Maybe you’re wondering “Why would Neil Lane fork over a six-figure ring for a couple that’s only known each other 6 weeks?” Well, it’s not entirely clear if ABC covers the costs or if it’s typical product placement, but Critical Mention believes the jeweler garnered nearly $5 million worth of media hits in the week following the finale of Pilot Pete’s season.
While the average member of Bachelor Nation may not be in the market for the $100k rings Neil is designing for Bachelor contestants, his more affordable designs are available at your neighborhood Kay Jewelers…. and if I had to guess, I’d say many of the people rocking a Neil Lane diamond were first introduced to the brand by the franchise. After all, who wouldn’t want their engagement ring to be designed by the same person as your favorite reality stars?
Becoming a Part of Bachelor Nation
Smirnoff, Revolve, Orbit and Neil Lane have gone the extra mile to make Bachelor Nation accessible to the masses. Just like professional athletes and sports drinks, across the country, people are picking up a Smirnoff Seltzer, or looking at their Neil Lane engagement ring, and feeling the kind of connection you can’t put a price on.
Whether it’s on social or through sponsorship, brands have the opportunity to make their consumer feel like they are a part of something… Which is all any of us really wants, right?