Watching some businesses and brands grapple with social media reminds me of that classic expression, “putting lipstick on a pig”.
I stumbled across this Marketing Week article a few months ago called, “Reckitt Benckiser makes an online push to connect with young consumers.” As part of a social media campaign backed by online advertising, the cleaning products company launched a Facebook fan page to reach “the online chattering classes” and “be automatically seen to be in the top three global FMCGs”.
One of the best parts of the article was the sole comment it attracted:
“A fan page on Facebook? You’d have to be very sad to join that. I’ll be surprised if it connects with young people. Will they really manage to get a 20 year old student (or worker) interested in connecting with Vanish?”.
Many businesses treat social media tools the same dropping an FSI or placing a grocery cart ad. It becomes just more superficial window dressing. I think it would be far better to apply that investment toward actually making the brand and products more interesting and remarkable.
I touched on this theme last year with Poser Marketing too.
5 CommentsJoin the Discussion
You make some good points, but I’d just like to clarify a few bits (I work in the team delivering the social media campaign for RB). Marketing Week got some facts wrong – the campaign is not and never has been to connect with consumers. Social media is appropriate for some of our brands (like Clearasil for eg) and they are undertaking their own forays into the space.
The campaign you’ve mentioned is part of our push to increase awareness and understanding of our corporate brand with early career professionals and grads. Facebook & Twitter are one way to open a window into what it’s actually like to work for an FMCG company and ours in particular, and to start a dialogue with interested people. They are part of a larger push and we’re continually re-evaluating and improving the way we use them so feedback is always appreciated.
Tom Fishburne says
Thanks, Athanasia, I appreciate the useful clarification. The Marketing Week article implied that this was primarily a consumer campaign.
Ted L Simon says
Even though the RB strategy was not correctly presented by Marketing Week, I think that the core idea that many companies are not sure what they are doing in this arena of social media is TOTALLY on target.
However, I would posit that the real issue is not “putting lipstick on a pig” (which suggests trying to make a bad idea look acceptable…and we’ve all had an assignment to do that in our day!). It’s more a matter of “the blind leading the blind” or just plain “keeping up with the Jones’s” — CEO at Company A has a social media effort for his firm, so CEO at Company B needs one, too (whether is makes sense or not). THAT can lead to lipstick, eyeliner, rouge and eye brow plucking for some poor pig!
Not unusual human behavior…we’ve seen it before whenever anything new and/or complex comes along. The rush to tactics before thinking through the strategies happens all the time.
Having said all that, I LOVE this cartoon and will clip it and keep it on my wall to (1) remind me of the many mistakes we can make as marketers/business people and (2) make me laugh.
Keep up the great stuff, Tom!
Awesome cartoon and post. But ‘lipstick on a pig’ is only partly true, I feel. Since no one is sure of how Social Media will evolve and what it means for brands, it is only fair that everyone is giving it a try. Most end up paying lip service to it with token presence across all the ‘usual suspects’ – Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Enjoyed the cartoon, though. As always.
Pam Court says
I love the visual. Reminds me when you put a gold ring in a pig’s snout it still gives you a pig but with expensive jewelry!
You are so great at provoking thought with your cartoons.