Named Coca-Cola bottles are sweet PR, but Nutella goes nuts
23rd May 2013
Good PR of the week
Coca-Cola’s cool campaigns
Coke deserve two mentions this week. One is probably a little belated, but relates to its “Share a Coke” named bottles campaign, recently resurrected for the UK market after proving successful in summer 2011 in Australia. It taps into that human desire to be marked out as special and as such (with the Derren Brown-esque copy, as good as directly telling you to “share” a photo of a bottle with your name on it on social media), has been incredibly successful. It’s also, perhaps less intentionally, been successful at making me want to bludgeon each and every sheep-like Facebook friend and person I follow on Twitter to share it, after the first few hundred, to death with a claw hammer with their name on it.
What can I say? The British root for the underdog until they’re no longer the underdog, so while I’d want a campaign of my own to be as successful, my professional jealousy can and does get the better of me.
The second mention is for this feel-good stunt, recorded in March, but uploaded this week:
Relations between Pakistan and India are strained, to say the least. Whereas brands should usually give situations like it a wide berth, Coke has succeeded in creating a sensitive and thoughtful campaign.
Coke installed a large “Small World machine” with a camera and a large touch-screen on the front in busy shopping centres in both countries, encouraging residents of each country to interact in real time with each other.
The Pavlovian “do a little dance together, get a free can of Coke” bit aside, it’s a great campaign that shows a global market-leading company doing everything right to keep itself ahead of the pack.
If you’d like to read more about the campaign and the thinking behind it, follow this link to involved agency Leo Burnett’s blog.
Thanks to Pegasus PR’s Oliver Fileti for emailing me with this one (if you have stunts/campaigns you’d like to share with me, please get in touch using the details at the bottom of this post).
Bad PR of the week
Nutella goes nuts
A fan favourite this week was hazelnutty amber nectar Nutella, after parent company Ferrero ordered “super fan” Sara Rosso to cancel World Nutella Day, a celebratory day she established in 2007, held on 5 February every year.
Ferrero ordered Rosso to "cease and desist" from publishing anything with the Nutella name or logo on it, despite the event becoming popular with the public and having been as good as endorsed by Ferrero employees within PR/brand strategy in the recent past.
Here’s the message Rosso posted:
“On May 25, 2013, I'll be darkening the World Nutella Day site, nutelladay.com, and all social media presence (Facebook, Twitter), in compliance with a cease-and-desist I received from lawyers representing Ferrero, SpA.
“The cease-and-desist letter was a bit of a surprise and a disappointment, as over the years I've had contact and positive experiences with several employees of Ferrero, SpA., and with its public relations and brand strategy consultants, and I’ve always tried to collaborate and work together in the spirit and goodwill of a fan-run celebration of a spread I (to this day) still eat.”
After a bit of a backlash online (isn’t there always?), loudly highlighting the odd turnaround by Ferrero, there was, after a couple of days, a positive solution. Rosso posted the following “to all World Nutella Day Fans“, along with a few Q and As (all here):
“I’m relieved to say there’s been a positive resolution to the situation. Ferrero employees reached out to me directly after I had posted my fan letter online and sent my formal reply to their C&D. They were very gracious and supportive and we were able to have a productive discussion about World Nutella Day living on for the fans, which is the whole point.
“I believe they were truly interested in resolving the situation in a way that preserved the spirit of the fan-run holiday. I’m satisfied with the turn of events, and I hope to celebrate many more World Nutella Days with you. See you on February 5th!”
So, it looks like it COULD be back on next year.
Brands just don’t “own” their reputations in the same way they might have once believed they did. To try to control it with heavy-handed litigation in this social day and age, especially when the focus of their ire is an unofficial yet positive, promotional campaign, just smacks of men in suits losing touch with marketing.