A few weeks ago
Twitter Junta was contacted by @theviewspaper for a Tweetathon called #ifeelup. Basically, a 72 hour non-stop twitter chat where people discuss various social issues and tweet about it with a specific hashtag, like a #TweetChat .
On 8th,9th & 10th January the tweetathon happened with the #ifeelup hashtag trending.
Cut to present day
There is an outrage as twitterers realize the campaign was an initiative of 7 up. This shouldn’t have been an issue though, if only it was openly communicated to those who participated and lent their tweets towards the campaign. Even their mail communication [to some panelists] didn’t mention that a brand was involved.
Here is how people realized it was a brand initiative.
Apparently, it’s to celebrate India’s undying ‘Uptimism’.. Well, frankly, everyone is now asking a question, ”Was the event to really celebrate India’s undying ‘Uptimism’ or just to tie in the brand’s tag line, “Dil Bole I feel Up” into the minds of it’s audience.” Some of them weren’t even aware that the brand was involved including the panelists.
Here’s what they actually ‘Feel’ now!Gautam Ghosh, Blogger and tweeter says,
“I was sent an email by someone from some site called The Viewspaper.I thought the hashtag was very creepy and didn’t know why they were doing it. So I didn’t participate, but I saw many friends who were tweeting with that hashtag during those couple of days. However when I discovered today that it was a brand promotion for 7Up’s new tag line, I felt it cheapened the whole approach. Traditionally Pepsi in the US is one of the few brands that really gets the power of social – with its “Refresh” campaigns – so it is disappointing that its Indian subsidiary couldn’t be more upfront. I was suspicious when a good friend who works in an ad agency’s digital arm started @ replying to me on Twitter asking me to participate in the hashtag (this when she had been dormant on Twitter for a long period of time) without explaining why. Today on doing a Google search I discovered that the agency she works for has 7Up as a client! Non-disclosure makes people feel they have been taken for a ride, and the brand loses out in the overall process when things come to light.”
Karthik, an avid tweeter shares his thoughts,
“I wasn’t invited formally, but I noticed people using the #ifeelup and started wondering why someone would use such a demeaning and creepy hashtag. I wasn’t aware of the 7UP connection until today (many days after the twitter campaign). I also remember many Twitter users asking The Viewspaper why they were using such a terrible hashtag, but there was no response from them that they are doing at the behest of 7UP and are quite stuck without the power to change the hashtag.
The intent is good, the effort was equally good, but the tool (hashtag) was terrible. Also, if The Viewspaper was a bit more open on the 7UP association, people may decide for themselves if they want to join ‘a tweetathon for India’s betterment’ or to join ‘a tweetathon for India’s betterment and promote 7UP new brand positioning in the process’. That’s the crux – all this effort needed was a mention of the fact that it also benefits 7UP new brand tagline, besides our country. Then, Twitter users may be able to decide better if they want to participate or not.”
What went wrong?
‘Transparency is of utmost importance in Social Media’ Now, I’m sure people may think, ”Was the initiative really to instigate some serious thought leadership and discussions or just to create brand recall?” Also #IFeelUp has some seriously lewd connotations and some of the tweets conform to that. As brand managers, that’s key to decide the tagline.
Harshil Karia, Founder FoxyMoron says,
“Hashtag was a very bad lift off from the tagline Dil bole I feel up tagline. Without dil bole the line has all sorts of connotations. For eg: #ifeelup everyone I see because #imadelhiite. I also think that with full disclosure, marginally fewer people would participate if pitched well. And I think the brand twitter account should have been present. The brand should have also made tees with their Speakers quotes and given it to the speakers to heighten the connect. Maybe got a few of these tees with the people wearing them and got their PR agency to cover it offline – Marriage of online – offline.”
How could it have been better?
Let’s say 7UP as a brand / PepsiCo India really is celebrating India’s undying optimism, then they should have really done something tangible where all of us would benefit or do something about the issues that affect us. That’s when someone would take a brand seriously.
Praval Singh, Co-founder at Media Redefined says,
“The idea was nice but the choice of hashtag and the brand-cause alignment was something that could have been better.”
What happens now?
We wait and watch on how the brand and the agency [who loved claiming the success and number of tweets] reacts to this outrage now.
Read some more tweets on the heavy outrage by some of the influencers on twitter.
What do you think the brand should have done in the first place. And now that it is in this mess, how do you think it should react?