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Nutella vs. Coca-Cola: To Welcome or Shun Brand Fans?

“I’ve always loved Coke as a child then as an adult. I love Coke
so much I found a man with the last name “Coke.” So now I am
Mrs. Coke. I’m a sixth grade teacher in Lubbock, TX, and
my name really is Coke.”
~Shala C.

nutella2#PRFail

Nutella has consistently presented itself as America’s need-to-have breakfast condiment – the advertisements consist of American families slathering the chocolate-y spread on toast, waffles and every other starchy breakfast item. But Nutella officials recently annihilated their slogan of “breakfast never tasted so good” when they sent an avid fan a cease-and-desist letter, leaving a bad taste in her mouth.

On her site dedicated to World Nutella Day, which she founded seven years ago, the Nutella enthusiast expressed her disappointment at the brand’s actions:

The cease-and-desist letter was a bit of a surprise and a disappointment, as over the years I’ve had contact and positive experiences with several employees of Ferrero, SpA., and with their public relations and brand strategy consultants, and I’ve always tried to collaborate and work together in the spirit and goodwill of a fan-run celebration of a spread I (to this day) still eat (1).

Smart PR move, Nutella? Not so much. Nutella has left its followers no choice but to enjoy the treat in stealth – otherwise, the consequences could come swiftly and with unexpected force.

#PRWin

In stark contrast to Nutella, Coca-Cola executives understood the value of embracing your company’s beloved fans. Two Coca-Cola fans brought the brand to social media fame – in less than five years, a Los Angeles duo has managed to make Coca-Cola second most popular page on Facebook (the first is President Barack Obama).

In 2008, aspiring actor Dusty Sorg was hunting for a Coca-Cola fan page he could join on Facebook. After failing to find one that seemed credible, Sorg decided to make his own Coca-Cola fan page. Despite the other 253 Coke fan pages on Facebook, Sorg’s page – which he runs with friend, Michael Jedrzejewski, a writer – gained millions of followers.

When Facebook changed its bylaws to require branded pages be authorized or associated with that particular brand, Coco-Cola executives proposed an alternative – the original creators would be allowed to keep the page but would also share it with Coca-Cola’s senior interactive personnel. Coke flew Sorg and Jedrzejewski down to Atlanta for meetings, a tour of the World of Coke museum and a visit to the company’s legendary archives (2).

In a nutshell, Coke thoroughly embraced its supporters – a brilliant PR move and one that proves the ability to tread smartly in social media is both possible and favored.

  1. Quirk, Mary Beth. “One Woman’s Quest To Celebrate Nutella Earns Cease-And-Desist Letter.” Consumerist.com. N.p., 20 May 2013. Web. 16 June 2013. consumerist.com/2013/05/20/one-womans-quest-to-celebrate-nutella-earns-her-a-decidedly-untasty-cease-and-desist-letter.
  2. Klaassen, Abbey. “How Two Coke Fans Brought the Brand to Facebook Fame.” Adage.com. Ad Age, 16 Mar. 2009. Web. 16 June 2013. adage.com/article/digital/coke-fans-brought-brand-facebook-fame/135238/.

 


 


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