You Know How Stephanie Fierman Feels About TMI
Saturday May 08th 2010, 12:34 pm
Filed under: ad agency,advertising,branding,cmo,facebook,Internet,social media,Twitter

Pringles has a new funny online campaign that skewers folks who “overshare” on Twitter and Facebook.

A key feature of the campaign’s website – http://www.helptheoversharers.com – has a “Best of” Twitter feed that streams some classics: “My arm is itchy,” “Cleaning the kitchen,” and “New shower gel – hooray!”

Amazing: “hurray” is just the utterance I was planning – too bad P&G got to it first.pringles-stephanie-fierman1.jpg

So anyway, the website offers tips for recovering oversharers, a plug-in that allows you to “shame a friend with just one click” (very popular, I’m sure) and even an interactive video into which you can drop some of your favorite inane comments.  And you can buy a t-shirt with a dopey tweet on it.  Of your choice.

The site is accompanied by a utility on Facebook that Pringles’ 3 million fans (and anyone else who feels like it) can download and use to label boring Facebook updates.

To me, the campaign feels a wee bit derivative of Burger King’s 2009 “Whopper Sacrifice Challenge,” which offered a free Whopper to anyone willing to unfriend 10 people on Facebook. That campaign was semi-criticized for being an “anti-social” social campaign – a page that Pringles appears to have torn out of the fast fooder’s playbook. And there have been a number of other brands – like Nestle and Skittles – that have leveraged the riskiness and “nowness” of featuring a live Twitter feed in their promotions.

social_media_overload-stephanie-fierman.jpgBut so far, this has been a conversation focused on techniques and tools – a plug-in, a feed, interactive videos and custom t-shirts.  I love tools just as much as the next marketer, but… what does the Oversharers campaign have to do with Pringles’ persona and the ultimate goal of selling more product? 

If there’s a second phase of this campaign that ties the downside of oversharing online to oversharing your Pringles (because you want to eat them all yourself?), P&G better get moving. It seems like that’d make sense… but I’m guessing and this connection isn’t made at the moment.

So from a business point of view, I don’t get it.  You’re the Pringles brand manager: what consumer insight led to this campaign? What are you trying to communicate? What differentiation would motivate trial, or make an existing Pringles eater feel good about the brand?

Don’t “overshare” social media tools because they’re cool.  It’s tempting – and I recommend social media experimentation all the time – but all of the standard rules of branding, communications and marketing (and revenue and market share and shelf space) apply.


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