Brand Bombing on Twitter

This past Friday I came across an interesting question on LinkedIn posted by Emily Luiz - The question was: Calling attention to negative review of competitor product via Twitter: Cool or not cool?

The post in question was tweeted by Red Mango and said the following: "OMG - The New Worst Drink in America Cold Stone Creamery PB&C Shake, with 2,010 calories + 131 grams of fat!!!!" The tweet linked to this article in Men's Health.

I will admit that I have never heard of Red Mango prior to this, so in a way it did a good job by raising awareness, heck, they are getting a blog post by me out of it - but, the question Emily posted is a very good one, is this a cool strategy or not?

A look at the answers to the questions shows that people view this as a bad move and in poor taste. But is it any worse than when Subway calls out Burger King and McDonalds in their ads, and on their napkins - spelling out that Subway is the much healthier choice and if you chose the other options you are basically a cow?

For the most part we accept this tactic when it is used in traditional advertising, of course Subway never starts and ad with OMG or calls a Big Mac the Worst Sandwich in America (that would be a straight out lie, at least to this dough boy.)

But is social media different? Is a move like this a poor attempt at a brand bomb? And in a case like this are you actually doing more harm to your brand than that of your rival?

Social media, twitter in this specific example, has become a place for brands to interact directly with consumers and prospects - it has changed advertising from interruption based to an actual dialogue where the end user has a voice - The brand takes on a living breathing role, there is a person running these accounts and it is no longer just a pushed message from the faceless corporation - that is why this specific brand bomb resonates.

I am sure the folks at Red Mango had to love the fact that a rival got called out, a few high fives at corporate were probably had - but to post the link to twitter, from your account, directly tied to your brand? That does hit a little low - because it is no longer the cold faceless corporation and an ad agency - it is your social persona, and your persona just came off as kind of a dick.

In reality, is a move like this any worse than what Horizon Group did when they sued a tenant over a tweet? To me they both are poor examples of how to participate in the message community, one example happened to get picked up by the MSM, the other just kind of passed through the Twitter silo.

I think this does give an opportunity to open the dialogue on what should be expected out of brands as they migrate to social media. Let me know what you think - was this brand bomb laid out by Red Mango a smart move? Or is it in poor taste and an example not to be followed?

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