Are Brands Desperate To Grab Attention On Social Media?

by Prasant Naidu on April 13, 2022

in Insights

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The word Tsunami itself is so scary that people went berserk when a few days ago warning signals were given after tremors were felt. There were high chances that Indonesia could witness the mayhem of Tsunami once again. However, thank heavens! nothing happened but the world of social media saw a Tsunami on its networks which expected that the Tsunami memories of 2010 would visit again. 4 out of 10 keywords were related to Tsunami that were trending all day on Twitter and people either were showing great concern or were having fun. Brands, which wait for such opportunities to cash in on, tried their luck and one of them was KFC Thailand. KFC Thailand, which thought of acting smart and witty during this time, posted an update on Facebook:(1)

Let’s hurry home and follow the earthquake news. And don’t forget to order your favorite KFC menu.

I think if you are human, you won’t tweet this ever, forget being a social brand or a social media expert. What followed thereafter was people’s anger and just as the way it doesn’t take much effort for things to go viral, this one also went viral but at the cost of KFC’s brand image being ripped off. Thereafter, KFC did apologize for it’s irrational behavior but it was too late and the brand’s image was crucified.

But let’s think for a second and ask - why do brands do such things when behind the logo are people like us. It is not that these are rare mistakes but on the contrary brands keep on doing the same and get backfired but still don’t learn from their mistakes. I hope they are not assuming that public memory is really short-term and people will forget things. I don’t think people forget things on social media and one of the positive things of Internet is that every hate speech, every negative thing is archived.

So why are brands doing this time and again?

It’s not only the case with international brands, Indian brands are not behind too. Some time back the cricketing world was talking about Dravid’s retirement from cricket and what strength was he for the Indian team. Seeing this every brand on Facebook or Twitter was praising about the achievements of Dravid’s cricketing history and his contribution to the Indian cricket. But Bookadda, an online ecommerce stores for books and magazines thought of an innovative plan to cash in from the moment. It ran a Facebook ad campaign, which you can see in the attached screen shot. I think the ad has no problem; it has the right image with the perfect message to make people click on the ad. But hang on, where does the ad lead to? The ad leads to one of the Bookadda apps on Facebook, which described about the business of Bookadda. Now isn’t the brand fooling people and trying to make people like their page on the face value of Dravid’s retirement? I would have been happy if they had listed some books on Dravid or had some resemblance to the retirement. Alas! It was a shameless display of how to gain more likes by fooling people.

There are few more, which did the same - Bajaj Allianz tried the same when Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th 100 and needless to say that the witty tweets by the brand backfired.

Congrats to Sachin for his long-awaited 100th ton. Now don’t delay your retirement planning. #RetireRich #JiyoBefikar (Link)

Karthik, a Twitter influencer was quite vocal about the insane tweets and also blogged about the same. I can go on listing some more examples such as Sony increasing the prices of Whitney Houston albums as soon as she passed away, etc. The list is endless but I fail to understand why brands go so low that they do things at somebody else’s expense!

Social media is all about being human first and incidents like this prove that brands really don’t get what is social media. Or is it that brands who try such cheap tricks, are run by too many smart and self-proclaimed social media gurus? Time for us to see the ground reality that apologies after the incident won’t really help.

The attention span of people is still not so little that they will quickly forget and this is what brands should keep in mind.

Slider Image courtesy:

  1. As reported by Economic Times []

Prasant Naidu

Founder and Blogger at Lighthouse Insights. Loves to experiment in social media and believes social media is a game changer for SME's.

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  • Naweed

    “I think if you are human, you won’t tweet this ever…..”
    I believe this is open to discussion. Would you consider it inhuman when photography enthusiasts advise people to go to high ground when a tsunami is predicted and get themselves prepared with the best equipment to capture the spectacle?

    When there’s turmoil brewing in a part of the world, and the newsreader tells her readers, “Stay tuned, we’ve got diligent reporters all over the region!”, would you consider that as selfish promotion?

    Nevertheless, thank you for bringing up this possibly grey area in marketing; this subject deserves to be thought over!

    • Prasant Naidu

      Thanks Naweed for sharing your thoughts :) Let me first tell you that I come from school of thought that believes marketing is all about customer and the experience and not trying to cash in from people’s sentiments for small things.(even though i am not an MBA)
      The example you have given are very different to the point I am sharing. Reporters covering live reports has nothing to do with marketing that is their job but KFC telling about earthquake and adding there product promotion is really cheap. at time when people are scared about their life you atleast either keep calm or help people. you simply don’t try to grab that opportunity for marketing.
      Bookadda did the same and i had raised this debate on fb which the brand simply ignored because they also know that they are doing wrong.
      yes this is a topic that needs more attention :)  

      • Praveen Sharma

        Instead put a remark on panic control or even what to do points to help them out ….a social approach for marketing

        • Prasant Naidu

          Sure that could be another post :)

  • Vijeet Rathi

    It is hard to believe that a ‘big’ brand like KFC committed such a blunder. Height of selfishness.

    The Bajaj Allianz tweet I think actually seems disgraceful. I mean who the hell is Bajaj Allianz to suggest Sachin Tendulkar to start planning for his retirement on a public platform?

    And Bookadda, Man, I have said a lot about them already. They don’t seem to care much about what is being written about them online.

    • Prasant Naidu

      Yuup height of selfishness :) Vijeet sometimes bigger brand try to be cheeky or lets say the so called smart sm gurus :) all of the examples are pathetic and disgusting.
      Bookadda has special mentions here too ;)

  • somesh

    I think brands are always desperate to grab attention, on any medium. But on Social Media they will always get an #epicfail from users. 
    This is one of the things I like about Social Media, users can take your (brand’s) case right then and there. 

    Thanks for sharing. 

    • Prasant Naidu

      Well said Somesh :) yes social media has immense powers. it can make a brand and the same time it can rip it off. its high time brands understand this. thanks for your comments

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