Is it just me? Or is there something seriously “wrong” with this?
Forget Facebook, Everyone is Meeting in the YardForget Myspace and Facebook. That’s old news. Now, there is Sprite’s exclusive network called the Sprite Yard.As a new way of connecting with customers, Coca-Cola expects the Sprite Yard to set new benchmarks for consumer brand engagement through the use of a mobile platform. Within the Sprite Yard, users can create a tag name, a profile, send “shouts” to friends and even post “scribbles” to a discussion board.
Measurement metrics have been built in so Coca-Cola can track, in real-time, which features consumers are using most to the direct impact on beverage sales. It enables Coca-Cola to react very quickly to what their market wants.
What made them “go mobile” with the Sprite Yard? They saw the opportunity to leverage mobile’s potential for viral distribution and to react to the consumers’ desire for constant connectivity.
With so many people actively online, organizations want to create their own groups and communities to ask their customers directly what they think, feel and want so that companies can make better corporate decisions.
Now, I worry here that I’m being mean spirited. And I worry that by pointing out the obvious, I’ll hurt the people behind it. And heck. I live in a glass house, as a public relations practitioner who is exploring social media and whose firm may also make mistakes.
But having said that, this just screams wrong, wrong, wrong!
What jumps out at me?
- Right off the top, hyperbole. “Forget Facebook?” The fastest growing social networking space that has turned itself into a platform? Come on! Good communication must be based in reality. Why not just tell me to forget Rocket Richard. Forget Hank Aaron. Forget Joe Namath. Cause, heck, Fred Money-to-Burn has come along and promises that he’ll be bigger than them all. That’s just bald hype. Walk the talk before you make the claim.
- “Coca-Cola expects the Sprite Yard to set new benchmarks for consumer brand engagement through the use of a mobile platform.” Whoah. Those are high, high, high expectations that have just been set. Let’s check back in three months from now and see whether I’ll have to eat my hat (or drink my Coca Cola.) Never ever tell them that you’re going to hit the ball over the fence on your first pitch. (Unless your name is Babe Ruth. And, oops. It didn’t work out too well for him either…)
- “Measurement metrics have been built in so Coca-Cola can track, in real-time, which features consumers are using most to the direct impact on beverage sales.” Let me get this straight. You’ve compared yourself to social networks that let me connect with my friends. But the great benefit of this network is that Coca Cola will be able to measure, in real time (no overnight delays for us folks) which features sell the most soda. Wow! I want to participate -not (to quote a phrase as hackneyed as this campaign.)
Bottom line. The foundation of social media is the spirit of generosity. Is Coca Cola being generous here? Or has someone been just a little too candid about how we are all just data points in Coca Cola’s marketing analysis machine?
Is this what social media and social software are leading to? is this the new normal? Or is there another way?