Many companies want to be part of the “new” “trendy” world of social media but they are not prepared to accept the realities of the world in which they enter. Often the campaigns just get lost, they are a failure in silence but occasionally they turn into magnificent failures that make your job drop in amazement – what were they thinking?
In January 2012 it was McDonalds who attempted to create buzz by asking people to tweet their cosy moments under the hashtag #McDStories. They were obviously expecting plenty of nice little tales of happy customers enjoying advertising like moments but – of course – this was not the only thing that happened. Forbes published a story on the campaign #McDStories: When A Hashtag Becomes A Bashtag which included examples such as
One time I walked into McDonalds and I could smell Type 2 diabetes floating in the air and I threw up.
Hardly a brilliant piece of marketing.
In a more difficult situation the oil company shell has been the “victim” of an interesting Internet anti-campaign by Greenpeace. Greenpeace set up a copy of the Shell site and asked people to automatically generate advertising posters for their (Shell’s) arctic oil. Huffington post writes:
Since June, Visitors to the site arcticready.com were treated to a spoof mimicking Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s website, a collaborative effort by Greenpeace and The Yes Men, a pair of activists known to imitate companies they dislike.
When it comes to Social Media dialogues corporate budgets are inadequate when dealing with the sheer numbers of responses capable of being generated by individuals using social media. Any responses left for the corporations (such as suing for copyright violation or defamation) are more likely than not going to generate even bigger PR failures. What is a poor multi-billion dollar corporation to do?
In an interesting marketing strategy Visit Sweden decided that Sweden cannot be defined by a single voice and began letting “ordinary” Swedes have control over the @Sweden twitter account. It was cute, it was fun – but basically it was boring.
Recently 27 year old Sonja Abrahamsson took over the account and things began to heat up. Her comments are earthy and borderline questionable. None of the ones I have seen are directly racist but they may be seen by some as politically incorrect.
This was too much for several people and the so called scandal was a fact. Just check out the headlines
But is this really a problem? It feels like the world media is working hard to feel truly insulted over nothing. Sure the author may be non-pc, maybe a person I would prefer not to talk to or read but so what? The whole point of allowing “ordinary” Swedes to take over the account was to demonstrate that Sweden cannot be represented by one voice. Those who would argue that only a specific brand of politically correct Swedes should be allowed to talk miss the whole point. If you come to Sweden you will meet all kinds of people – the same is true if you visit any other country.
The main difference is that instead of a bland mix of picture perfect illustrations that ordinarily bore us with the falsehood this marketing of Sweden shows that ordinary people exist here. The fact that the experiment with @Sweden has achieved little public debate abroad shows that it was not really an exciting thing to do.
Those who argue that Abrahamsson is causing bad publicity for Sweden should think again. How may of those who are insulted (if there are many of those?) are actively cancelling trips to Sweden? Visit Sweden should stand by their choice and behind their idea – in Sweden we believe in freedom of expression. This means that often we hear about stuff we would prefer to avoid.
The critique is more amusing than relevant, a storm in a tea-cup. Unless Abrahamsson has broken any laws then I salute her ability to create a discussion about Sweden that goes beyond the boring stereotypes.
Help me find the Father of Little August. If you can help please mail firstname.lastname@example.org, see more about August here: http://karen26.mono.net/
This film was a huge success and it was only later (even if many saw it as a bluff straight off) that it came out that it was a paid advertisement from the Danish tourist board. Part of the visit Denmark campaign. Blogger adland nicely sums it up
Forget Tivoli, that teeny disappointment of a statue known as the little mermaid, the beautiful light of Skagen that inspired world renowned art, Legoland, the quaint walking street Strøget, Danish design, the ‘lawless’ Christiania with its art, music and funny cigarettes and open-minded living. These days Denmark is most known for cartoons that offend muslims, deporting muslims asylum seekers by forcing them out of churches in the middle of the night, and hippie-land Christiania is about to be torn down. Good thing they still have loose women and unprotected sex to sell the country by, right? Come to in Denmark.
What a wonderful image of Denmark. Visit Denmark and meet slutty women. I really doubt that (1) danish women would like this message, and (2) that the person who approved it was a woman.
Since being given permission to hold a course on the Vulnerable IT-Society I have been very busy in trying to market the course. The course was approved far too late for it to be included into the ordinary university course catalog so I have been left to my own devices. Basically I have had two months (last date for applications is 15 April) to make people aware and to get them to apply to a course that has been totally unknown.
The attempts to market the course have kind of taken a life of their own and I think that it may be interesting to write an article on the way in which university marketing may work. The first thing I did was to start a blog on the 23 Febuary. The content of the blog mirrors the topics which the course will address and over the last weeks I have added pages of information of literature, course information, lecturers and web2.0 stuff.
A couple of days ago I started a Facebook group and added information to the site. Actual spamming has been relatively low impact and has not resulted in all too much visible results. Finally I have posted notices around town and at various university libraries the results of this have yet to be measured. At the begining of the course I intend to poll the students to find out which information the students found and which had the most effect on them. My hopes for the course is that it will be a big success even in the number of applicants.
How much unnecessary technological crap can you fit in a kitchen? Obviously this depends on your definition of unnecessary, technological and crap – in addition to the size of your wallet and kitchen. But taking a walk through the aisles of kitchen products available is a frightening display of the excellent collaboration between product developers and marketing departments.
In much of the developed world the basic kitchen contains a cooker, an oven, a fridge and a freezer. Beyond this some would argue that the microwave is a basic necessity but after that things get more complicated since the line between necessary and unnecessary becomes blurred and ever more subjective and difficult: Is a toaster a necessity? What about a coffeemaker?
Even if we limit this exploration to those products that require a powersource the list is impressive: A bread maker, rice maker, pizza maker, popcorn maker, juice maker, kitchen aid, electic knife sharpener, milk foamer, egg boiler, juicer and sandwich maker…
Of these strange products that surprise and annoy me the most are the ones which are completely unnecessary – I know the term is vague – the pizza maker, the egg boiler and popcorn maker are all excellent examples of products which do not really increase efficiency in the kitchen. These three machines do not make the tasks of boiling eggs, poping corn or making pizza any easier. They are products which show the great advances which can be made so long as there is a strong marketing department creating desire.