Social opinion: Risk vs Reward, or ‘Should I take social media steroids?’
This week, Sportsbet launched a campaign to promote their new and improved Android app.
‘Putting the roid back in Android’ was rolled out across broadcast and digital media, featuring disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson who infamously lost his 1988 Olympic gold medal after testing positive to performance-enhancing drugs.
The campaign was met with mixed reactions.
Some lauded its creativity and humour, others detested its promotion of cheating (there were more than 100 complaints lodged to the Advertising Standards Bureau and statements by politicians Greg Hunt and Nick Xenophon).
The same week, N2 Extreme Gelato posted an image to their Facebook page of their new Honey Charcoal Vanilla gelato with the caption:
As the comments began to pour in, and the community manager’s sweat began to pour out, the caption was edited. But the damage had been done.
Both pieces of content were unquestionably risky and both received negative attention (on their social channels and in the media), but did they reap the reward?
Sure, both would have increased their reach far beyond what they paid for. But without seeing app downloads and gelato sales, it’s hard to tell.
However, one way we might be able to guess is by taking a look at how each brand responded to the extra attention.
Sportsbet released a hilarious statement in response to the “media sh*tstorm” where it included screenshots of positive comments from social media.
N2 did the exact opposite. Editing the caption on the Facebook post again, they expressed their apologies and reported that they’ve suspended the person responsible and sacked them from their social media role.
So why was Sportsbet the victor? The answer, as it often does, comes back to the audience.
The author of this scathing article in The Australian put it best:
“Anyway, the fact that people like me hate this advertisement is irrelevant – I know some of my sports mad colleagues absolutely love it, and Sportsbest, owned by Irish gaming giant Paddy Power, is far more interested in talking to them than me.”
Sportsbet know their target audience are predominantly not politically correct types, and were happy to cop the negativity and enjoy the free media coverage.
N2, on the other hand, quickly realised that while some people were defending the post, these people were probably not their consumer base or target audience.
The public wants brands to take risks. We want something to stand out from the noise and grab us. Not everyone will like what they see. The trick is to make sure your target audience are the ones who do.
- Instagram tests Location Stories.
- Instagram launches a new face filter feature (the same as Snapchat).
- Theresa May wants to make it possible for you to forget being a teenager on social media!
- The ACCC’s annual Scamwatch report shows that Facebook is the domain of choice for scammers on social media.
- Are you maximising the use of video in your content marketing strategy?
- Tips for social media etiquette at work.
Round up – top campaigns:
- United Airlines tries to climb aboard the Wendy’s ‘nugget boy’ bandwagon – but Twitter isn’t making it easy for them.
- A gelato shop is forced to apologise after ‘blackface’ social media storm.
- Sportsbet launches a controversial/hilarious new TVC and digital campaign this week featuring the disgraced Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who is ‘Putting the roid back in Android’.
Learnings and recommendations:
- Risk-taking is good. It sets you apart. It wins you the gold. Take risks – but make sure they’re calculated ones.
- Just because something isn’t offensive to you, it might be offensive to your audience. The answer: know you audience, test your content and racism isn’t funny.
- When your brand is down, sometimes it’s better to stay silent. Woolworths felt that in 2015 and this year’s scapegoat is United Airlines. There’s no quick fix to being the underdog, especially not jumping on an 18-year-old’s nugget bandwagon.
Brought to you by the wonderful King Content Always-On social media team.
Michael Waddups, Divya Goski, Graham Boville and Kate Leonarder