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The Hills Were Alive With The Sound Of DiGiorno Pizza Last Night

When big food corporations try to horn in on Twitter conversations about TV shows and other pop culture fare, it usually doesn't work.

Remember when McDonald's tried to engage customers with the hashtag #mcdstories, only to have it turn into a way to share horror-story experiences at the fast food chain? Or when Snickers got busted for paying celebrities to tweet about its brand?

Except sometimes, big food actually pulls it off. Take last night's Sound of Music Live broadcast on NBC. From a social media perspective, one of the highlights of the performance was the tweets coming from frozen supermarket pizza giant @DiGiornoPizza.

Bad puns, silly lyric changes and just plain clever comments earned the company more than 2,000 new followers last night, says the marketer behind the tweets, who wishes to remain anonymous.

Why choose a musical about a country and an era in which pizza very likely was unheard of?

"Just trying to make the most out of what everyone was already talking about," the @DiGiornoPizza tweeter tells us in — what else — a direct message on Twitter.

And many of our anonymous tweeter's observations suggested familiarity with the songs and made a whole lot of people hungry, or at least interested in retweeting the comments. (Anonymous says it's a favorite musical.) To wit:

I don't think those mountains are real you guys #TheSoundOfMusicLive

and

Still not over pizza getting overlooked in the favorite things song. #TheSoundOfMusicLive

and

BOOOOOOO ROLFE THE DELIVERY GUY BOOOOOO #TheSoundOfMusicLive

show that the tweeter was actually watching the show as it unfolded.

And lyric perversions like:

DOUGH a crust an unbaked crust RAY, a guy that likes pizza ME a pizza liked by a guy named ray FAH no idea what fah is SO so LA a city T tee

and

YOU ARE 16, GOING ON 17 AND I'M ASSUMING YOU'D LIKE PIZZA FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY DINNERRRRRRR #BuyDiGiorno #TheSoundOfMusicLive

and

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN, FORD EVERY STREAM, FOLLOW EVERY RAINBOW, UNTIL YOU FIND A SUPREME (PIZZA FROM DIGIORNOOOOOO) #TheSoundOfMusicLive

"I will say that this was unplanned. The Sound of Music was on, the brand trusts me and I ran w/ it," the marketer says.

Of course, as the bump in Twitter followers shows, it's not just fun and games for DiGiorno or other big food manufacturers increasingly turning to social media to prove that their brand has got a personality.

As Stephanie Moritz, head of PR and social media at ConAgra Foods, told Food Navigator-USA in an interview last October, "Social listening is a critical factor in doing business in the 21st century."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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