My Ad Bag?

March 11th, 2013 by Dylan Leave a reply »

There was a little Twitter tsunami today… Suddenly and without warning a gaggle of NZ Twitterers regaled us all with 140-character endorsements for the brand new My Food Bag service.

It seemed a lot of influential people got some free meals and wanted to tell us all about it. However, not everyone was happy with the meal announcements, and some took a very negative view of the campaign.

So is it an #ad? I don’t think so.

Once upon a time I worked in PR –  in a time before Twitter. The concept of PR is closely tied to the idea that word of mouth is the best advertising, but since it is impractical to actually get lots of individuals to talk about your product (less so now with social media) you instead try to get people with an audience to talk about your product. This is typically journalists or personalities. You give them stuff and hope it all works out. The trick is finding the right people for a given product. Giving someone a product totally unsuited to them isn’t going to generate any good publicity, and it could possibly have the opposite effect.

Now, with Twitter and Facebook, word of mouth is MUCH more accessible – instead of 10 or 20 people each with an audience in the tens of thousands with magazines and TV we have hundreds of people each with a much more interactive audience often in the low thousands. But they are people who interact with their audience about all sorts of things and they often do it compulsively.

If you give those people a product they like they are very likely to tweet and Facebook about it, just as they do about the warrant of fitness and sore feet. They share the things that happen to them, and a free thing that interests them is definitely going to cross that threshold.

Back to the beginning – is it an #ad? I don’t think so – I’m assuming no one was paid to tweet, and I’d be highly surprised if posting to Twitter or Facebook was somehow required for these people to receive their Food Bag. Instead it was the natural result of mixing social media extroverts with a new thing. Should those people have disclosed that they were receiving something for free? Maybe, but I’m not convinced. It was certainly clear from many of the tweets that these people were being given a trial of the product.

In fact, the only failure I see in the campaign by Pead PR at all is that there was a small onslaught of tweets about the same topic all at once – it was enough to create an instinctive negative response in some people. Of course this was probably unavoidable and I doubt it was intended that way. These types of launches tend to be an all-at-once thing – and if you send ingredients and a recipe for dinner to a bunch of Twitter addicts all at once then there’s a very good chance they’re all going to tweet about their special dinner all at once.

  • Ben

    I was initially a bit upset about it, but then I realised it’s no different to Samsung sending out loan phones to reviewers.

    The only difference is that the MyFoodBag contents can’t be returned.

    • Dylan

      I really think it was just the same thing coming from multiple people all at once that caught people a little off balance.

      But then a week or so ago my timeline seemed completely filled with PS4 tweets and none of those people had even seen or touched the thing. I think it all boils down to what people share on Twitter, and broadly speaking that is things that excite and interest them. New things tend to hit that mark for most people.

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  • Sacha

    If they didn’t all use the same hashtag, people may have been less suspicious of being manipulated.

  • Sacha

    Ah, people were advised to use that hashtag, reports Hazel Armstrong:

    “Nobody told me to talk about it, but in the comms from Pead PR, it said “Feel free to share your creations using #MyFoodBag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook”. Yes, “feel free”. Not “acceptance of Food Bag is conditional to your agreement to tweet all four meals” or something equally inane.”

    So she’s supporting your position about it not being a compulsory exchange, Dylan.

  • lollytart

    words from twit mouths is low value

    pander and get what toy 5 deserve

    • lollytart

      toy 5 = you

      oh spell fix android how I hate you, and worse soft key without that masochism

  • lollytart

    “use this tag”

    firms gotta love sheeple compliance

    wise consumers Xmpp Texting :: actually free, secure with otr