January 20, 2021

How Party City Said “FU” to 2020

Christina Sirabella

To say that 2020 was a difficult year would be quite the understatement. According to psychology professor Raymond Novaco, Americans are “living, in effect, in a big anger incubator,” between the pandemic, economic fallout, and civil unrest. 84 percent of Americans feel that we are angrier now than we were a generation ago, and 42 percent said they personally were angrier in the past year than in years prior.

Certainly, much of this anger stems from the uncertainty 2020 gave us. So, when the holiday season came around, it’s no surprise that there was a strong desire from people to take a firmer hold of what little they could control. Despite being unable to responsibly spend time with friends and family this season as they normally would, folks wanted to take their celebrations to the next level—and they wanted brands to help them get there.

Enter “FU (Forget U) 2020”: Party City’s product line that tapped into the collective need to forget the year. From hats to banners to balloons to party horns, the goal was to help people blow off steam, celebrate safely and inexpensively, and most importantly, laugh. (Because you know what they say—if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry!)

In solidarity with everyone’s feelings of anger, sadness, and a need to find some humor in the situation, Likeable worked with Party City on a social-first concept rooted in community. The idea was that we’re all in this together—and we can celebrate (or just break things!) accordingly.

The first aspect of the social campaign was, of course, the content itself. We concepted and produced tongue-in-cheek images, GIFs, and videos that showed people celebrating the end of 2020 by doing things like smashing cakes, destroying party table setups, and popping balloons.

Oh, and we did get a little bit of help with content production. CeeLo Green, as well as the band Avenue Beat, created FU 2020–related Cameos that Party City shared on Twitter.

The second aspect of the campaign was community management. We engaged not just with people mentioning Party City or directly commenting to Party City, but also with those who were just expressing their feelings about the year.

And lastly, what would a campaign in 2020 be without some TikToks? For the final week of the campaign, we asked associates to get in on the fun by recording TikToks and tagging #nye, #partycitylife, #fu2020, as well as Party City’s account. There were about 40 total holiday submissions from employees who had fun with the products! Here are a few favorites:


Get all your New Years Eve celebration items @partycity #patycitylife #partycity #medford #medfordoregon #NYE #FU2020 #balloon #balloonpop #poppop

♬ Beautiful_Arkins_Re Generate – 마티랜드🐰마티🐰


Bye 2020 ✋✋ #partycity #fu2020 #partycitylife #happierholidays #forgetyou @partycity

♬ Forget You – CeeLo Green


Dancing it out for 2021!!!!! #NYE #PartyCityLife #FU2020 #2021 @partycity

♬ Celebrate the Good Times – Mason

To date, this content has garnered 20 million impressions and its engagement rate has exceeded the benchmark by 20 percent. Why? Because it showed that the brand was in touch with what its customers were feeling and what they wanted. They didn’t expect Party City to fix their problems, but they did want to turn to Party City and social media for a way to release some anger and have a little bit of fun. By leveraging humor as a way to cope with a traumatic year, Party City helped its customers have the last laugh. Take that, 2020!


Want an awesome social media team behind your brand’s next campaign? Give us a ring.

Tags: Community Management, Content Marketing, Creative, Facebook, Instagram, Social Media, Strategy, TikTok, Twitter

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