How To Protect Yourself Against An International Brand Attack

How To Protect Yourself Against An International Brand Attack
SHARE
THIS



SumOfUs, an American ethical consumer movement, has recently gone viral with an anti-palm oil video targeted at Doritos and their parent company PepsiCo. Digital marketing expert Richenda Vermeulen explains why it has had such success and gives advice on how to prepare your brand for ambush campaigns.

Every brand has its weak spots. Normally PR and marketing try to cover them up with impenetrable suits of armour. Sometimes we even just ignore them completely.

It’s because of these inevitable pressure points, that brands are consistently the target of attack campaigns.

Recently, Doritos found themselves in the digital spotlight after their #CrashTheSuperBowl campaign was gatecrashed by ethical consumer movement, SumOfUs.

Their video, showing a Doritos-obsessed couple learning about the devastating effects of rainforest deforestation, notched up more than five million views online.

In comparison, the 10 videos from finalists in the Doritos user-generated ad competition have a cumulative view count of two million.

The ad was created by home grown talent Briony Benjamin. It was targeted for an American audience, timed just two weeks before the Super Bowl, but the video has been blowing up news feeds across the world. Its monumental share count has turned the campaign into an international brand attack on PepsiCo.

So why is this ambush campaign doing better than the brand campaign?

In 2014 PepsiCo announced that they would be working towards exclusively using sustainable palm oil in their products by 2015. Since then, the company has said little about this commitment, other than listing on their website that they are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). In a David and Goliath move, SumOfUs identified this as a weak spot and decided to keep them accountable.

Is your brand a target?

Are there things you’re currently being criticised for? Have you said something in public and neglected to follow through with it?

Doing nothing in this situation is a digital-death wish. The results of this could impact on your reputation, your engagements, your investors/stakeholders, and your vision. The risks are huge.

However if you’ve decided it’s time to do something and pursue brand-betterment, you actually have a very rare marketing opportunity.

When taking steps to protect your tender spot, the least you can do is create interesting content about it. Stay on your toes, continually updating your messaging with truthful and tangible examples of what you’re doing to change. Engage your audience in discussion so that they can see your authenticity and transparency. Share stories of the philosophy behind the improvements, and how you’re progressing with them.

In an analogue world, these marketing problems were much more contained. With the arrival of social media there are no longer boundaries between you and your consumers. You are your own media entity, and customers will be flocking to you for updates, to voice criticisms, and to demand answers. Staying silent during these times will be your biggest killer and ultimately affect your bottom line.

Use the opportunity to overtake your competitors

Your competitors will also come into the firing range, and there’s a unique opportunity here too.

By weighing in on the issue, you can pose the biggest threat to your competitor: winning the hearts and minds of their loyal consumers in a moment of weakness. Differentiate yourself, and the ‘halo effect’ can make you a light in a dark place.

Doritos’ opponents missed the opportunity to turn the negative attention from SumOfUs’ campaign into a promotion of their palm oil-free products. Australian not-for-profit Palm Oil Investigations tried to capitalise on the buzz by sharing the below graphic but this could have been incredibly powerful messaging coming from a brand instead.

Image via Facebook.

Image via Facebook.

What to do if you’re attacked?

Make sure your risk mitigation plans are robust and ready to be enacted (and if you don’t have one… get one!). If anything flares up outside your protocol, brief your CEO. Pay attention to your social media channels as this is where your consumers will come first.

It’s important to remember during these times that your biggest risk can be your biggest advantage. So don’t stay quiet. Mobilise your resources, spend some time with your legal eagles, and set in place some dedicated actions towards change. In the end, this is your only choice in a digitally-led world where campaigners are only a few clicks of a keyboard away.

Please login with linkedin to comment

data day rakuten marketing speakers store launch tbwa singapore

Latest News

Mannheim, Baden Württemberg / Germany 07 12 2019 Apple iPhone XS Display with
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Should We End The Quest To Replace The Cookie?

Looking at the latest identity solutions being explored by the digital advertising industry, and whether seeking a single alternative to third-party cookies is actually a lost cause.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Asia MarTech Society Appoints Ken Ip As Chairman
  • Marketing

Asia MarTech Society Appoints Ken Ip As Chairman

The Asia MarTech Society (AMS) has appointed Ken Ip as chairman of its 2021–22 board of directors for a two year term. An award-winning marketing and brand communications strategist, Ip has previously held several senior roles, from corporate consulting to public affairs advisory, for leading multinationals and conglomerates. He is currently the group head of […]

Initiative Studio Launches ‘Taste Life On The Flip Side’ For Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Brancott Estate
  • Campaigns

Initiative Studio Launches ‘Taste Life On The Flip Side’ For Pernod Ricard Winemakers’ Brancott Estate

Pernod Ricard and Initiative Studio have launched “Taste Life on the Flipside” for Brancott Estate’s Winemakers’ newest wine varieties. The campaign idea had its genesis in 1975 when Brancott Estate planted the first sauvignon blanc vines in Marlborough, New Zealand. This was an iconic moment as it flipped a convention that said Marlborough was only […]

Mardi Gras Partnerships Have Raised Nearly $250,000 For The LGBTQI+ Community In 2021
  • Marketing

Mardi Gras Partnerships Have Raised Nearly $250,000 For The LGBTQI+ Community In 2021

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras has continued its programme of community grants and support funded by valued partnerships with ANZ, Google and Facebook Australia, and from the organisations own surplus, delivering a total of $248,000 to LGBTQI+ community groups for this year’s festival season. Three grants funds, the ANZ Community Grants, Google Parade Grants […]

Selena Gomez Will Host Global Citizen’s ‘Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World’
  • Uncategorised

Selena Gomez Will Host Global Citizen’s ‘Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World’

International advocacy organisation Global Citizen will host VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, a global special that aims to inspire vaccine confidence worldwide and help get the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone, everywhere. During the special, Global Citizen, will call on philanthropists and corporations to donate enough “dollars-for-doses” to vaccinate more than 27 million […]