The Fun Bun

The Fun Bun almost never happened.

The new pastry creation was amazing. Warm. Sweet. Gooey. Delicious. One-of-A-Kind. It honored and continued Knott’s Berry Farm’s nearly century long culinary legacy, started by the boysenberry and Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. The creation of the delicious combination of a cinnamon roll, boysenberry, funnel cake and a little magic was led by Chef Reuben, and supported by the culinary team. The culinary team called it a “Deep Fried Cinnamon Bun”, which was true, but didn’t provide the proper reverence to this fantastic new treat debuting at the Knott’s Boysenberry Festival in 2015.

Enter Knott’s Publicist Leidy Arévalo. She was the brainchild of the name Fun Bun. Fun Bun is one of those great names that seems obvious in retrospect. A shortened combination of the words “funnel” and “cinnamon bun.” There was a lot of resistance from the culinary team and park management to the new name. Like most businesses, the park had never used anything but straightforward names to describe all of our food offerings. The debate centered around concerns about whether the name set the right expectations for guests. Would guests know what the new dessert was and would they be curious enough to try it? Leidy persuaded the team to give the name a chance.

Fun Bun Knott's Berry Farm

The #FunBun Memes

We decided to keep the Fun Bun somewhat mysterious and announce just the name with a photo on social media. The first tweet was sent on March 12, 2015. I expected the tweet to do pretty well, but none of us could have anticipated what happened next.

The incredible Knott’s fanbase began sharing the @knotts tweet, creating their own memes and encouraging other fans to do the same. The “movement” was kicked off by Progress City with Park Journey, Hastin and dozens of other Disney/Knott’s fans joining in. #FunBun, which we hadn’t even originally used in our initial tweet, began trending locally.

In an effort to seize the momentum, I decided to post one of the fun Snoopy/Bandit Fun Bun photos we had taken for a future ad campaign. The #FunBun memes and tweets continued to roll in. The Communications Team gathered in my office and we discussed the idea of joining in on the memes. Up until that point, I had always pushed for a balanced brand tone for the Knott’s social media platforms. Fun, varied, a little tongue in cheek, but nothing too out of the box. We all agreed that it was tough to ignore the awesome posts our fans had created and not reward their efforts by joining in by retweeting their tweets and sharing our own posts. Initially skeptical, our Director of Communications, Jason Soyster, fully supported us and joined the meme brainstorming effort.

We tweeted out a few pop culture memes on March 12 that continued to help the hashtag trend. Then we did the same thing on March 18 with even more tweets that riffed on popular films. The hashtag began trending again. All in all, #FunBun received well over a million impressions that month and helped spread the word about the Boysenberry Festival to a whole new group of fans and bloggers. In addition, the name and the Twitter campaign were fantastic media pitching tools for Leidy. She used them to secure coverage of the Boysenberry Festival from dozens of new press outlets, including BuzzFeed, FoodBeast and The Huffington Post.

I just can’t imagine any of this happening if Deep Fried Cinnamon Bun was the name. The name “Fun Bun” even makes the delicious pastry taste better. It’s funny how one little decision about the name of just one item of the over 50 that were featured during the festival led to one of our most effective PR campaigns.