January 07, 2011
Milk and Nuts: A Cautionary Tale
Creative Director Chris shared an experience with Twitter that shows the value of monitoring your brand, and the cautions of uncensored opinions, online. We originally posted this on our company blog, but it's such a great example that I had to share it here as well. Enjoy!
I like Twitter. I like the random comments, opinions, links and rants.
I like that I feel I know interesting people who I’ve never met in the flesh nor probably ever will.
But it’s a dangerous place. It lulls you into a false sense of (social) security.
It presumes anonymity but in reality it’s fairly easy to identify someone in the ‘real’ world.
And because it’s full of people venting spleen about all kinds of topics, it encourages you to join in.
At least it did me.
I tweet on two occasions – when I’m bored and when I’m drunk.
Three if you count when I’m bored AND drunk.
So fuelled with Shiraz and following an hour and a half of X Factor, it was a perfect storm when the latest Cravendale milk ad came on in the ad break.
Now to be clear, I don’t much like the ads. They strike me as an idea applied to the product rather than one extracted from the product.
But they’re not the worst ads on TV by a long chalk and, in terms of my existence, don’t really make much difference.
However I took this particular airing as a chance to tweet (and I paraphrase) ‘Would love to meet the creative team behind the Cravendale ads. I would kick them in the knackers from now till Doomsday.’
And once the thought went out into the Twittersphere I thought no more about it.
However, the following morning there was a reply.
It was from Wieden & Kennedy, the agency behind the Cravendale advertising (actually from their MD Neil Christie) and arguably the most creative ad agency in the world today.
Neil helpfully told me whose knackers I should direct myself to and copied him in on my tweet (Chris Groom @groomster).
Now I’m 6’5” and 18 stone, so potential physical repercussions weren’t particularly the issue. I was incredibly ashamed to have been caught having a go at a fellow creative – particularly as I know how hard this game is without having colleagues turning on each other.
And as I’ve lectured on IPA events about how important creativity is and how to achieve great ideas we have to be prepared to fail with some but stick together.
So I immediately sent an apology.
Chris replied saying that he understood and that he didn’t take it personally.
But it still ate away at me – mainly for the fact I’d been an idiot and insulted someone I don’t even know, poor bloke.
So a couple of days later, as retribution for threatening his genitalia, I sent Chris a parcel with some plums, nuts and cheese balls. All potential substitutes in a Viz-style way.
He received it graciously.
This event has caused me to reconsider my relationship with Twitter. And to be considerably more circumspect before spouting my vitriol.
As I footnote, I confessed this to my wife who told me that she really liked the Cravendale ads.
So the David Ogilvy-ism was right ‘The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.’
Except that my wife married me, so in this case the jury’s still out.
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