Coca-Cola was forced to acknowledge it had crapped the bed last week when news broke of a social media advertising campaign gone awry. Coca-Cola, which manufactures the Dr. Pepper brand in Europe, had launched a campaign which involved UK Facebook users giving permission for Dr. Pepper advertisers to post embarrassing status updates to their profiles in exchange for a chance to win money. This brilliant scheme of geniuses was running just dandy until a mother complained loudly and publicly about a particular status update posted on behalf of her 14-year-old daughter:
"I watched 2 girls one cup and felt hungry afterwards."Whoops. How much Dr. Pepper does someone have to drink to think that referencing horrifying scatological pornography on a child's Facebook account was a good idea? Coca-Cola has since admitted that they approved the message without understanding the reference, implicitly blaming their advertising company for the foul up. I will grant that this is plausible, and it makes me just want to rush over and hug Coca-Cola and protect it from the horrible oozing cyst that the real world is. But I can't, because that's impractical and because the security guards out front of their offices are real uncomfortable with the idea.
But even beyond that, think for a second about how this campaign was supposed to work. If this thing worked perfectly, if Coca-Cola managed to overcome their massive gaping head injuries, and execute their campaign flawlessly, how did they think embarrassing their customers would sell Dr. Pepper? What sort of volcano-genius advertising strike force came up with that idea?
Coca-Cola Executive: So what have you come up with for us?
Advertising Guru: Glue smells like hugs!
Coca-Cola Executive: I see. Tell me more.
Advertising Guru: Let's mock your customers. That way they'll like you a bit less, and anyone who was previously indifferent to you will think you're fucking cretins!
Coca-Cola Executive: That's good. Real good. But I feel like we're missing something…
Poo-Flinging Monkey: -flings poo-
Coca-Cola Executive: Yes! Your far-sighted wisdom has steered us true again, poo-flinging monkey.
People being dumb is one thing that I'm pretty used to by now, but the thing that really pisses me off about that probably-not-fictional discussion is that every one of those grass-eating morons probably drives a better car than I do. So, operating under an "if you can't beat them, join them (then steal all their pens)" principle, I decided to craft my own advertising pitches for Dr. Pepper. Seeing as anyone who's not actively fucking their own hand can evidently walk right in to Coca-Cola and get an advertising contract, I figure this is a pretty good plan, and intend on sending the following pitches on to them just as soon as you finish spell-checking them for me.
Pitch #1 – Tagging Pictures
Willing volunteers will allow Dr. Pepper agents to add tags to pictures on that user's profile. The tags will all read "Dr. Pepper" and will be applied to "amusing" containers where Dr. Pepper would not normally be expected, such as wine glasses, shampoo bottles and swimming pools. Prestige-level Dr. Pepper fans can volunteer to have pictures of their significant other retagged as "Dr. Pepper," which will not only raise your products profile, but certainly end some relationships, and increase general misery. Recent market surveys indicate happy people do not drink Dr. Pepper, so this should indirectly boost sales.
Pitch #2 – Dr. Pepper Doctoring of Pictures
Very similar to Pitch #1, only in this scenario the user grants Dr. Pepper the ability to upload new photographs to their profile. Dr. Pepper agents will download existing photographs, manipulate them to include refreshing Dr. Pepper products or reflect Dr. Pepper approved political sentiments, then upload them to the user's profile for everyone to enjoy. "Amusing" examples include:
- Enjoying Dr. Pepper with friends
- Wearing Dr. Pepper branded clothing during a fight club
- Christening a baby in a vat of Diet Dr. Pepper.
- Like that two girls one cup thing, but with Dr. Pepper and 30 Turkish guys and a Slip 'N Slide.
Pitch #3 – Harassing Ex-Lovers
Using advanced algorithms, Dr. Pepper agents will analyze Dr. Pepper fans' friend lists and identify which are actually ex-lovers that the user still keeps in touch with. Via a series of private messages, wall posts and inappropriately tagged pictures of zoo animals mating, Dr. Pepper will then make that ex feel extremely uncomfortable, thus boosting misery and the associated anticipated increase in Dr. Pepper consumption.
Pitch #4 – Offer Free iPads
Every fan who signs up with this program will give permission for Dr. Pepper agents to send messages from their profile to everyone in their friend list, offering them the opportunity to win a free iPad. The links within said messages will redirect to web sites established by Cok_1_neta Incorporated, Coca-Cola's phishing subsidiary based out of Russia, promoting cross-brand synergy. One free iPad will eventually be offered eight years after the program is concluded, but it will be pre-enjoyed, and littered with Russian pornography and recipe ideas.
Pitch #5 – Cyberbullying
By partnering with the toughest 10-year-olds available, we will identify the weakest Dr. Pepper enthusiasts within our program, and using a systematic program of threats and intimidation, inhibit their ability to feel joy. This will result in improved Dr. Pepper sales as a consequence of the well established (Despondence -> Dr. Pepper Consumption) causality, and should also make everyone within the organization feel like a bigger man.
Pitch #6 – Amateur Pornography
Every fan who signs up with this advertising program will be convinced, using modern seduction techniques, to participate in a series of amateur pornography shoots, to "earn a little extra money for school." Dr. Pepper agents will assure users that these will be softcore only, and extremely classy, which as the first lines in a carefully designed pyramid of lies, will soon lead our fans down a path that will eventually result in them never speaking to their parents again as well as fulfilling the dampest fantasies of the sodaphilia fetish community.
Pitch #7 – Use Fans' Status Updates About Vacations to Rob Their Houses
People are always posting updates about their vacation plans, and by using this information along with the DNA/address database all corporations have been assembling since the 1990s, Dr. Pepper agents will be able to rob their houses, making hundreds if not thousands of dollars at a time. Given the number of vans you own, and the near uniform amorality present in your company's culture, it's actually a little surprising you haven't done this already. Also, this will provide you a rock solid supply chain for your planned entry into the growing DBOTS* retail industry
Pitch #8 – Petnapping
One of the curious irrationalities of the modern world is just how far people will go for their pets, including feeding them prepared food and allowing them to sleep indoors. By leveraging this desire to enjoy their pet's company unharmed, Dr. Pepper should be able to convince many people to visit public places and loudly enjoy the taste of a cold, crisp Dr. Pepper, while telling the cops nothing.
Pitch #9 – Force Feed Dr. Pepper to Sleeping People
Dr. Pepper fans already have sufficiently damaged lives that they need no further encouragement to enjoy the great taste of Dr. Pepper, but the same may not necessarily be true of their friends and family members. Previous efforts to increase market share have generally focused on reducing human contentment on a grand scale – a goal fraught with difficulties, given the seemingly unlimited amount of small joys in life, e.g: bright copper kettles, sunshine. Instead, we will use our ability to divine the details of our fans' and non-fans' personal lives to find out when and where they sleep, then using special hoses, force Dr. Pepper into their mouths until they are unhappy.
Pitch #10 - Blackmail People into Committing High Profile Dr. Pepper Related Crimes
By embedding ourselves into the social-media info-torus, massive volumes of information will soon be at our disposal, and with the appropriate data-mining algorithms, eventually we will have a great deal of information in our possession which certain Dr. Pepper enjoying parties would prefer be kept private. By leveraging this desire for privacy, we will be able to make Dr. Pepper patrons perform a series of super-crimes designed to raise the profile of the Dr. Pepper brand in key demographics (Interpol agents). On our whiteboard at the moment:
- Dr. Pepper themed vandalism of great public works
- Knocking over the entire cast of The View with a high pressure Dr. Pepper canon
- A series of daring raids of industrial facilities in a Dr. Pepper branded dirigible.
- Fist fight with the President atop the Capitol Dome wearing a thong made of Dr. Pepper labels.