Tag Archives: consumers

Coca-Cola: Call me anything, just not ‘gay’

29 Jan

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Coca-Cola or Coca-Cock up? It’s hard to tell when this global brand keeps making marketing mistakes.

After asking fans to share a personalised coke, Coca-Cola’s sub brand – Vitamin Water – fell foul of calling one unlucky US customer a ‘retard’. And now, according to BBC Trending, the South African coke microsite has banned people from calling their can of coke ‘Gay’.

‘Computer error’ I hear you ask? Well, technical glitches don’t tend to read:

Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that. Please try another name.

The brand has since apologised and resolved the issue by clarifying which names can be used on its social media led channel by listing them on the site. But, if Coca-Cola thinks it can move on swiftly it’s highly mistaken.

With the 2014 Winter Games around the corner – featuring Jamaica (probably the most exciting thing about the event) – rightly or wrongly this has definitely become a gay rights issue.

Although the Games wouldn’t happen without its sponsors, it’s down to all marketeers, regardless of what country they’re based in, to communicate with one another to ensure they have an integrated approach. Remember that word? In this industry it doesn’t just look pretty on paper, it means something.

Sure, some might agree that Sochi shouldn’t be punished for South Africa’s mistakes but the truth is a quick phone call could have ensured the brand isn’t tarnished in every time zone. With Russia attracting attention for the wrong reasons since it passed legislation banning propaganda of ‘non traditional sexual relations among minors’, it’s important that businesses know which side of the fence they’re sitting on. Otherwise you’ll have international media, bloggers and entire communities hating on you, including Gay activist John Aravosis.

It’s time for marketeers to take responsibility for their actions because, with this company in particular, ‘sorry’ is wearing thin. If you’re going to put consumers in charge, then you have to be prepared for the consequences.

If in doubt, leave it out! What do you think?

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Would you prefer a tattoo of your boss or £25k?

3 Nov

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Crowd-sourcing was coined in 2006 by Wired Magazine. It was used to describe a job, which was usually fulfilled by an employee, that was outsourced to a group of people. Since then it’s been used by brands in a range of weird and wonderful ways. From ‘dead dog‘ jingles to BrewDog’s Twitter beer, it generates ideas and content for businesses – and not many of them are sensible.

Now, premium crisps brand Tyrrells has embraced this fact and, after asking its social media fans for ideas for prizes to bring its promotional packs to life, is running with them. That’s right, Tyrrells is giving consumers the chance to win: a tattoo of your boss, an uncomfortably long handshake or a packet of soil.

Well, blow me down and take me to Waitrose right now because this is the best incentive ever to buy a packet of crisps.

Of course, consumers have an opportunity to trade their prize for £25,000. But I’m looking out for one winner that’ll see the value in winning a pack of lies. After all, it’d make great content for the brand, and the results would be much wider than its own communications channels. You wouldn’t see a feature on a Walkers‘ cash prize winner in The Sun, but with this I can definitely imagine it. It’s PR-journalism gold.

With more than 60,000 consumers already engaging with Tyrrells across Facebook and Twitter, the brand has done a great job of interacting with them. It’s asked them questions and taken their answers seriously, including on the T&Cs, which makes this Field of Dreams marketing promotion a cut-above the rest. What’s more, up to 5 million more fans will have the chance to appreciate the brand’s humour as the competition’s rolled out across the country.

With the crisp market currently worth £927.5m in the UK alone, a well-executed campaign like this can help brands like Tyrrells close down the significant gap that Walkers currently enjoys. And it’s first using social noise to support its attempt.

What would you do? Opt for a sculpture of your Grandma or the money?

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