How to Abuse Your Customers And Pass It Off As 'Marketing'
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