TVNewser AgencySpy TVSpy LostRemote FishbowlNY FishbowlDC SocialTimes AllFacebook 10,000 Words GalleyCat UnBeige MediaJobsDaily

Kellogg’s Learns the Dangers of Conditional Charity

Kellogg’s UK is the latest brand to learn a fairly basic lesson in social media marketing: charity should never be conditional.

kellogs1

We get why this tweet seemed like a good idea at the time: it’s tough to get people to engage with you on social even when they follow your feed, and nobody wants to say “no” to feeding a vulnerable child. But the equation seriously undermines the message here.

The brand thinks: “We’re sponsoring a charity program to provide breakfasts for underprivileged children, and we want our fans to share the announcement so more people will associate it with our brand.”

The audience reads: “If you don’t retweet this, a vulnerable child might not eat breakfast tomorrow. Only a terrible, terrible person would allow that to happen. You’re not a terrible person, are you?”

Generous interpretation for sure—but this is how social works, remember? Here’s a clearer version of the statement:

But that one is bland and un-engaging, so we can see why they didn’t use it. There’s a thin and dangerous line between sharing something that fans will want to share themselves and nudging them with a message that ties a brand’s generosity to the audience’s own behavior.

We should note that Kellogg’s did well on the damage control front when compared to other brands that found themselves in the same predicament. Unlike Home Depot, the company didn’t pull the “it was our agency’s fault” defense. That one might work for the public at large, but if we ran an agency we’d be less likely to consider Home Depot as a client after that story.

See, there you go. It’s not so hard.

Mediabistro Course

Social Media 101

Social Media 101Get hands-on social media training in our online boot camp, Social Media 101! Starting September 4, social media and marketing experts will help you determine the social media sites that matter most to you, based on your personal and professional goals. Register before July 31 and get $50 OFF with early bird pricing. Register now!