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

Is B2B Marketing Missing Its Emotional Touch?
  • Media

Is B2B Marketing Missing Its Emotional Touch?

B2B marketers could learn a thing or two from their B2C colleagues, argues WP Engine VP APAC sales Mark Randall in this guest post. It surprises me how many B2B organisations are not quite hitting the mark when it comes to reaching their audience. When talking directly to businesses, many brands are missing an opportunity […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Burger King Trials Reusable Packaging
  • Media

Burger King Trials Reusable Packaging

Here's a top initiative from Burger King that does kinda sound like a slightly tedious Craig Reucassel documentary.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Smarter Use Of Art & Science Stretch Auto Budgets Further
  • Media

Smarter Use Of Art & Science Stretch Auto Budgets Further

The majority of adverts uploaded to Facebook aren’t created for Facebook as its priority. This is causing huge inefficiencies and poor performance for brands, many of whom are facing up to shrinking budgets. Tom Phillips (main photo) managing director at Connecting Plots shares lessons from 12 campaigns they optimised for auto brands… It’s no secret […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Young Guns Take The Lead With The First PRIA University Mentoring Program In NSW
  • Media

Young Guns Take The Lead With The First PRIA University Mentoring Program In NSW

On Wednesday, 21 October 2020, the PR industry was bolstered by the launch of the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) first University Mentoring Program in New South Wales, adapting the traditional face-to-face program to a virtual format for the first time. In collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the PRIA NSW Young […]

JCDecaux Teams Up With MyPayNow To Serve Real-Time Data
  • Media

JCDecaux Teams Up With MyPayNow To Serve Real-Time Data

JCDecaux has developed a dynamic digital campaign with live timetable data where commuters can access their money from MyPayNow while waiting for the bus. In an exclusive nationwide Out-Of-Home campaign, JCDecaux’s SMARTFRAME digital assets are broadcasting bus arrival times, letting commuters know how far away their next bus is – and just how easy it […]

Rokt Secures $US80M Series D Investment Round
  • Technology

Rokt Secures $US80M Series D Investment Round

Rokt has today announced an investment of US$80M. The capital will help accelerate research & development and support the expansion of its client base into new verticals and geographies as Rokt continues to make e-commerce smarter, faster, and better. The funding round was led by Rokt’s largest institutional shareholder TDM Growth Partners , and supported […]

Nature Invests In New Team Members And Innovation
  • Marketing

Nature Invests In New Team Members And Innovation

Leading strategic insights consultancy Nature today announced it has hired several key new team members and restructured senior roles to increase its focus on innovation, including new technology and data sources.

PayPal And Buy From The Bush Launch New Marketplace
  • Media

PayPal And Buy From The Bush Launch New Marketplace

PayPal Australia and Buy From The Bush have joined forces to launch a new online marketplace to showcase rural Australian small businesses in time for Christmas. The expanded partnership aims to build stronger connections between bush businesses and Australians in cities and suburbs across the country. The new Buy From The Bush Marketplace is an […]

Wednesday TV Wrap: Gruen Takes A 200K Hit
  • Media

Wednesday TV Wrap: Gruen Takes A 200K Hit

Gruen plummets 200,000 viewers in just one week. However, that's not to say Highway Patrol went up a similar amount.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Philippe Krakowsky Named New IPG CEO
  • Advertising
  • Media

Philippe Krakowsky Named New IPG CEO

Philippe "Crackers" Krakowsky named new IPG global CEO. However, says he only uses Crackers on less formal occasions.