Tag Archives: Mars

When social media turns bad: dealing with negative comments

Mars' Euro 2012 ad: reaction on Twitter was mixed with some slating it as terribleThe avenues for instant feedback afforded by social networks often result in a stream of negative comments from consumers, but how should marketers react?

The proliferation of social media has offered marketers an unprecedented opportunity to become part of ‘the conversation’ and amplify their media investment. Read More »

After Snickers teaser campaign cleared should marketers always disclose social media campaigns?

Yesterday (7th March 2012) the Advertising Standards Agency announced that it has decided not to uphold the complaints about the recent high profile Twitter marketing campaign for Snickers.

I’m sure most of you are aware of the back story of how Snickers, through its parent company Mars, arranged for five celebrities to make humorous but rather incongruous tweets in quick succession. Their initial tweets made no reference to Snickers, but contained content that you would never expect from that particular celebrity, and which therefore piqued followers’ interest and made some wonder whether the celebrity’s Twitter account had been hacked. Read More »

Should big brands make a move into social media?

Last night, as a guest speaker at The Future Laboratory’s idea networking event, I had the opportunity to chat about who is doing what in social media, and the pros and cons of big brand’s moves into the social media space.


Love it or hate it, with Facebook fast approaching 200 million users worldwide and Twitter adding thousands of new members daily, not to mention the popularity already established with platforms such as Linkedin, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace, the social media channel of influence can make or break a brand. Discussed was the fear factor that big brands have now toward the social media monster, and the question of whether to enter the arena, or stay out, for fear of losing control of a brand. As The Future Laboratory’s mission is to look ahead and keep ahead of the curve, my counsel last night was that big brands need to define social media strategy now, rather than wait for a point in time when they may have to be re-active rather than pro-active toward the medium. 


Whether it is a comprehensive strategic plan to making a brand’s presence known among social media channels, or a short-term experiment into the space, such as a contest or other promotional campaign, brand’s need be bold and step into this brave new world where consumers are hanging out and, in some cases, stirring their own little revolutions. In considering a few examples we discussed:


Mars recent campaign for its Skittles candy, a courageous approach that saw the website homepage transformed to showcase the brand’s live streaming Twitter feed along with its Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages. Usage triggered was so high for this campaign that at one point Twitter crashed, and the brand discovered that turning things over to consumers opens up to a challenge when not everyone played nice with the Tweets they sent along. In the end, the fantastic publicity received around the experiment, has made Skittles top of mind and won new enthusiasts for the brand, even if there has been a bit of brusing.


Comcast, an American cable and broadband provider, has been using Twitter to supplement customer service responses. They’ve posted a guy named Frank Eliason to man the Twitter customer service site, positively giving a corporate brand a real human being to interact with in real time. Customers simply Tweet their queries to @Comcastcares and quickly receive response.


Other big brands that are stepping into social media with a variety of approaches include: Dell, Starbucks, JetBlue, TheHomeDepot, Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods Market, HRBlock, Best Buy, Popeyes, Forrester Research, Ford, Samsung and Kodak, to name a few.


Here’s a few quick tips I shared with folks last night in thinking about approaching social media for a brand:


Be Seen: What do you look like to your social media audience? Are you human, or are you something off a shelf? People want to see other people in the world of social networking so in reaching out to your audiences pay attention to showing them what you and your team look like. Upload images to your Facebook group of your brand in action — people at events, people using your products, people in your office. Use Flickr to build an image trail of both products and people. Use YouTube to seed videos, integrating several visual tools to showcase the human side of your brand.


Be Real: Don’t piss off your audiences by engaging in blatant heavy promotional use of Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites. Show a personality and offer up a variety of information to your audience, pointing them to helpful or quirky items.


Be Brave: This is new territory for brand building, and it takes an adventurous sort to take some risks in approaching social media. Think out common sense approaches to using social networking for your brand, and don’t be afraid to experiment out there. 


Be On It: Assign a member of your team, or several, to be monitoring and watching for responses that come back via Tweets, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr comments, and blogs. Response to people’s comments should be swift and effective, helping those with complaints and thanking those with praise. 


Be Interactive: It isn’t enough to hang up a billboard in Second Life or set up a Facebook group or Twitter account, unless you think out how your approach should interact with people. Think about what you can offer up to your audience that will be of interest and relevance to your brand. Can you host a virtual conference in Second Life with prominent speakers? Can you run a contest through Twitter? One company called Going.com created one of the most popular Facebook applications called Naughty Gifts, a slightly cheeky way to give adult gifts to your friends, that has produced millions of exchanges. To promote Going.com, they took the popularity offline and held adult-themed parties throughout America, promoting the events through the Naughty Gifts Facebook application.


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Thinking about social media branding,


Brave Brands With Social Media Strategy: