Be First Social Media Team Means Being Safe
~ James Moore
Everyone remembers two particular ad campaigns from the past. One was a campaign launched by Nike. This particular message was wrapped around the ‘down but never out’ Tiger Woods (who is, once again, Number 1 in the golfing world). The Nike slogan offered: “Winning takes care of everything.” Some would say that’s boring to begin with, while others were cheering Tiger on and welcoming him back to the limelight with arms open wide. There were also a majority who left Nike and thought the celebrity was truly the wrong man to sell their product.
Either way, the fact remains that everyone began talking about Tiger; bad or good, he was getting the news that brings the buzz that brings him publicity and more money. And Nike’s campaign was huge. It had everyone talking – making Nike name the one that was being ‘buzzed’ about all over the place.
Nike has always pushed the envelope with their campaigns. However, they stood by their chosen ‘bad boy’ celebrity when every other sponsor ran for the hills. Now they feel really good about their loyalty, considering the fact that with this campaign and Tiger’s resurgence, the Nike golf division revenues rose 10%.
Star athletes fall in the same category of Hollywood stars – winning does take care of them, in the way that the past is forgotten and forgiven by the majority of their fans.
But…a small business, a debut business, a new franchise – they are not Nike and for the smaller company without the well-known name as of yet, there is such a thing as bad publicity.
Companies should always be aware of that fact when it comes to hiring their social media team. Although Nike is doing well, there is another ad campaign that was literally slammed and had people turning away from the product.
It was Ford (the India branch), that combined with the advertising agency, WPP, and put together a series of advertisements that literally could have killed them. Mock-up ads showed what you would call ‘Playmates’ bound and gagged in the back seat of a Ford Figo. These images were to be submitted to an ad competition, but were uploaded to the Internet in error. They never had a place in a Ford campaign, but the India Unit still apologized per email. Ford’s logo was featured and one particular ad showed these women with the former Italian Prime Minister smiling over his shoulder from the driver’s seat with the slogan: “Leave your worries behind with the Figo’s extra-large boot.”
There were others… One was Paris Hilton kidnapping the Kardashians, with the three sisters tied up. Now this is what you would call an international mistake. Consumers from all across the globe weighed in saying this was wrong, and basically ads that would blemish or ruin Ford’s stellar reputation – and damage the company beyond repair.
‘Viral’ should be taken very seriously, considering the fact that once something goes viral you can not go back. In addition, the advertising, marketing, and/or social marketing team you have behind you must know how the World Wide Web works. Even something that’s a joke, a bad gag, or simply an ad that’s in poor taste, once it appears to the consumer’s eye, can bury a company. It is a fact that an unknown company could have a dumb ad and be able to have it forgotten if they grew larger; it is also a fact that it could be the ruin of a company immediately.
Building a brand takes time, energy, ingenuity and extreme know-how. There is nothing to stop the Web from spreading bad news. So in order to be safe, call Be First!