Jackie Huba contrasts how two brands responded to some creativity by customers. Lots of people have discovered the fun to be had by dropping Mentos sweets into diet coke – apparently it gets quite explosive. Here’s Jackie’s report:
Mentos: “We are tickled pink by it ” says Pete Healy vice president of marketing for the company’s U.S. division. The company spends less than $20 million on U.S. advertising annually and estimates the value of online buzz to be “over $10 million.”
Coke: “We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it ” says Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott. She adds that the “craziness with Mentos … doesn’t fit with the brand personality” of Diet Coke.
That line about not fitting the brand personality is a classic bit of old-style brand thinking. It strikes me as rather lame not to be able to summon up a playful response to the inventiveness of your customers. And does its marketing department truly believe it gets to control what is, or isn’t, the Coke personality?
For more brand-lunacy, look no further than the World Cup.
Hundreds of Dutch fans had to watch their team’s 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast in their underwear in Stuttgart on Friday after stewards at entry points to the stadium rumbled an ambush marketing ploy.
The Netherlands supporters all turned up in garish orange lederhosen displaying the name of Dutch brewery Bavaria and were ordered to remove them by stewards before being allowed to enter the Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion.
They then went into the match and watched it in their underwear.
Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser is the official beer for the tournament and world soccer’s governing body fiercely protects its sponsors from brands which are not FIFA partners.
That, as we English are fond of saying, “is pants”. Brands that show so little appetite for playfulness can expect to be mocked.
For added irony, apparently Budweiser doesn’t really qualify as a beer at all in some Germans’ eyes – which is pretty bizarre for the “official beer” (!) of the tournament:
…what most upsets the fans is that Budweiser advertised as the King of Beers in the US fails to meet the ancient German standards for purity, which stipulate that beer can be brewed only from malt, hops and water. Budweiser uses rice in its production process and therefore does not qualify as a beer in the German sense.