Sunday, August 14, 2011

A "P'Zone" For Your Trouble


I was watching television yesterday and saw a very interesting advertisement for Pizza Hut. The ad said that if I was willing to "Like" Pizza Hut on Facebook or sign up to receive spam mail from the chain pizzeria that I would be entitled to a free 'P'Zone,' which is the calzone looking thing in the picture.

Slumped over in my chair, I shook my head and asked aloud what the hell these marketers are thinking about when they analyze the power of social media. How is executing a promotion that's the equivalent of begging for friends (or buying them) going to help the brand distinguish its position in a category that's nearly reduced to pure commodity? Is having a presence in my newsfeed enough to do so?

Perhaps it would help. However, a quick scan of Pizza Hut's Facebook posts will reveal otherwise; it's basically used as an avenue to distribute worthless content and pizza-related entertainment with the hope of getting anonymous friends (as opposed to real customers) to send them a virtual pat on the back- which has become habit and social custom among many in the crowd. There is very little real utility to the social tool and it's difficult to come up with a single reason why a virtual friendship with Pizza Hut might be necessary.

I'm sure the bargain hunting crowd and the marketers who hope to justify their commercially-flawed social experiments will be quick to rumble something about the delivery of coupons or Groupon-like deals on pizza.

However, this only serves to prove my argument and the flawed logic used too justify many social campaigns such as this one. If the social tool cannot work without using other tools like price discounting then perhaps it doesn't really work as well as advertised; just as if it requires a free 'P'Zone' to be called friends then maybe we aren't really friends.

Yet this is the game a lot of marketers are playing these days. These broken campaigns are justified not because of their impact on sales or market share but with completely new metrics created by the inventors of social tools and the people that push them in sales meetings. The new currency created for marketers to blindly chase are clicks, comments, likes, follows and something called impressions. Which might just be the real genius behind the invention called the social media campaign- it's fooling a lot of the marketers in the same way they used to fool consumers.

Only if there were less 'followers' among them.

As always, thank you for reading and commenting. I look forward to reading them.

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