Kingsford® Charcoal Relies on Sysomos to Track Down the Nicest Person in Social Media

Case Study | Kingsford® Charcoal

The Kingsford Products Company is the leading manufacturer of charcoal in the U.S., enjoying 80 percent market share. It converts more than 1 million tons of wood scraps into quality charcoal briquettes every year. To maintain and grow its market leadership, Kingsford® Charcoal is active on social media, ‘fires up’ people to use its products on its interactive website, and runs regular promotions encouraging people to join “the grilling community.”


Instead of a lump of coal, winning contestants in its promotional campaign get a years’ supply of charcoal briquettes and a brand new grill.

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Finding the Needle in a Social Media Haystack

For its seasonal promotion leading up to December 2012 Kingsford decided to flip Santa’s list on its head. Instead of kids on Santa’s naughty list getting a lump of coal in their stockings, the nicest kid – in this case, the nicest person on social media – would get a whole lot of coal. But this coal is actually charcoal – specifically, a full year’s supply of Kingsford briquettes accompanied by a barbecue grill. This campaign would then kick- off a broader social media contest to drive people to the Kingsford website.

But how to find that elusive nicest person? The maker of Kingsford® Charcoal worked with Sysomos to develop an algorithmic script to sift through more than 100 billion tweets and find an “average Joe” who said things such as “please.” “thank you,” and “thanks” the most on Twitter throughout the year, cursed very little, and had an overall “positive sentiment” score. Kingsford had been using Sysomos for social media monitoring and knew the platform, with its in depth research capabilities, could yield the answer.

Kingsford had been using Sysomos for social media monitoring and knew the platform, with its in-depth research capabilities, could yield the answer.

Kingsford used Sysomos to track the campaign as it progressed. Real-time insight into the volume of buzz the campaign was generating helped Kingsford adjust the amount of social media outreach needed at all times to keep the momentum going.

Getting Personal – The “Nicest Guy” Puts a Face on Kingsford Products

It wasn’t too difficult to find that nice guy. He turned out to be Clifford Brown of Waukesha, Wisconsin, who was surprised to learn he topped Santa’s social “nice” list. Brown says he thinks he’s a pretty nice guy and does always try to mind his manners in social media. Santa surprised him with his coal in a visit to his house.

My wife would say I’m a nice guy, but this is really incredible. I guess the nice guy doesn’t always finish last! I’ve been known to dig a path to the grill in winter, so we’re looking forward to enjoying grilling year-round now.

Clifford Brown

Paying it Forward – More than one Nice Guy?

To keep the spirit of good cheer going during the holiday season, Kingsford launched a Twitter campaign that encouraged others to nominate who they thought were the nicest people in social media. The entry requirement was to tweet @Kingsford with #benicegetcoal and put themselves or another do-gooder (along with their Twitter handles) on Santa’s nice list. Odds of winning depended on the number of tweets submitted, and winning entrants were awarded with a year’s supply of Kingsford® Charcoal and a kettle grill.

The 2012 “nicest guy” campaign was so successful that Kingsford is repeating the program this year, but with a twist. For 2013, Kingsford plans to extend the contest and use Sysomos to identify the friendliest US city or state.


Kingsford® Charcoal wanted to identify “the nicest person on social media” to launch a broader, seasonal social media campaign to engage people with its brand.


The company worked with Sysomos experts to create an algorithm to sift through billions of social media conversations and find the individual who said “please,” “thank you,” and “thanks” the most, cursed the least and had a positive sentiment score.


The campaign was so successful that Kingsford is planning a repeat performance. Only for the 2013 holiday season the contest will identify the nicest, friendliest city or state in the US.

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