Saturday, May 2, 2009

Someone you'll hate would love to

I do tend to witter on about brand engagement. Today's little tutorial (courtesy of Jacob's Biscuits) highlights one of the lurking dangers: having to engage with arseholes.

Because it's a lot like life, the web contains gormless idiots who can barely contain the snot in their heads long enough to type out their imbecilic message on your comments thread.

And thus the good guardians of Kimberley, Mikado and Coconut Cream found out why it's vitally important to engage with customers, clients and complete gobshites alike. If you're going to run a competition on your site, say offering someone the opportunity to win their weight in biscuits (?), make sure you moderate the responses. Or else you get this.

No doubt it's hilarious. If you're sixteen. Or a complete twat. Or both. But if it was my brand I'd be equally creative in coming up with suitable consequences for whoever should've been moderating comments.

Engagement. If it ends up in a 'My Dad is bigger then your Dad- Well my Mum is bigger than your Dad' then you're to blame. It shouldn't ever get to that. You have the tools to moderate it and you're the client, ie the grownup in the equation.

No point hammering the guys in Jacob's or the agency behind the idea. Whatever your views on the content, the design or the level of full-on engagement, the concept of connecting with the huge heritage that a brand like this would have is not bad: a promotional engagement that uses a familiar brand and attempts to harness some of the new media opportunities that are freely available.

And the 'bad' publicity seems to have been contained to the unnamed chattering class on one of those forum type places that I loathe for their creaky structures, lack of navigability, boring design and apparent love of anonymity/pseudonymity.

So for Kimberley and co. a pretty cheap lesson overall from a handful of sillies. I hope they learn from it. The level of hater comments to be found on places like YouTube can be quite staggering, so don't go in blindfolded.

  1. Moderate comments and block offensive users, spammers and other undesirables.
  2. Accept legitimate criticism graciously. Nobody is perfect, and that includes brands.
  3. Respond to it positively. You would be surprised at how a customer's perception can change just by being listened to.

One last tip. If you're going to use Twitter, talk ordinary. Not things like 'We would love to be having a Kimberley, Mikado & Coconut Cream picnic in the park today'. That's a classic Marketing Dept statement akin to the range shot at the end of the ad. Every version of every model we ever made, and make the logo bigger too. Real people don't do that. (It's probably all academic, because I couldn't find the Twitter account for this particular promo anyway.)


  1. hi nick, hadn't seen this. Valid points, and lesson and good coming from somebody like yourself, as opposed to an anti-online person.

  2. I've made a resolution not to waste any time with anti-onliners, Paul. If you believe in what Soc meeja is capable of (and I do) then you'll deal with the people who don't pull the shutters down. For every high profile Ryan Tubridy there's a dozen entrepreneurs out there who really know how to use this fabulous bit of kit. Brands are naturally interested, but need to be convinced. That's where I'm happiest to spread the gospel. Non-adopters will have their place in Darwin's hierarchy, but it will be as a footnote in history, imo.


  4. Brilliant stuff Nick - I'm sitting here in stiches. I do love when marketing people pretend to be ordinary people, writing about how they profoundly love a product more then any normal person should.