Exploding Brands

Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba have a superbly titled blog called Church of the Customer Blog. It’s at customerevangelists.typepad.com. Have a lookee at this bloglet Mentos and Diet Coke

Chances are you’ve probably heard about and most likely seen one of hundreds of videos featuring the fun that’s possible with Diet Coke and Mentos.

The recent video featuring a choregraphed, fireworks-like display of Diet Coke and Mentos was so wonderfully over the top that it caused the experiment to go mainstream last week with features all over the traditional media.

And did you see how each company reacted to this meme of free marketing?

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.

It’s pretty easy to tell which company spends far too much on advertising.
Bonus link: Sales of Diet Coke are down.

UPDATE (7/1/06): Mentos looks like they going to capitalize on all the buzz with a user-created video contest. (Thanks, BharleyB)

Now, when do you think companies will understand that the word BRAND means “how your product or service is perceived by your customer”. It doesn’t mean “how you present your naff product is accepted unequivocally by your dopey customer”, does it? We control the brand. Us. If we see Nike as a Just Do It product, cool. If we see ’em as sweatshop fiends, not cool. But we the consumer control how we value a brand. Not the marketing guys. Oh and try telling Volksawagon that – they just didn’t get the whole user gen Polo ads thing, did they?

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Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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