I can’t believe I’m about to write this post. After all, I’ve spent the better part of my post-college life championing the virtues of social media — the power to connect, to inspire change, to bring efficiency to markets. None of that is what this post is about.
This post is about when social media goes too far.
Before I really say anything, I should probably qualify everything I write here as fully fallible, and I reserve the right to reverse my stance whenever I choose, and return to a die hard social-media-makes-everything-better version of myself. Now, for my beef with social.
The ad above is only 30 seconds long. Go ahead, watch it, then keep reading. This is the ad that inspired this post.
What in the world is Cottonelle thinking? And an even bigger question: what in the world is Kimberly-Clark, Cottonelle’s parent (and publicly traded) company, thinking? How many people had to sign off on this? Seems like some social media firm got the better end of this deal (aka at least they got paid).
The idea behind the campaign is to promote sales of an (apparently, though I had never heard of this before) complementary product by encouraging Cottonelle’s Facebook fans to publicly disclose their invented term for a private bathroom routine. Toilet paper plus their “Flushable Wipes”? OK, maybe. I mean, I guess this could be some super savvy play taking into account all types of expected reactions, my negative one included, and the bottom line is that they expect this exercise to earn them more money than if they didn’t do it. But don’t the majority of us just think this is weird?
Not that I’m opposed to shattering cultural taboos. But do we honestly need social media for toilet paper companies? And, is this the best version of what a social media play for Cottonelle looks like?
I’ll link to their Facebook page here and let you decide if you’d like to participate by adding your own version of “The wonder down under,” “Slick and shine,” or “The Swipe and Soothe” to their Wall. With your name forever attached to whatever you come up with, and potentially immortalized in a Cottonelle Book of Names, by the way.
I guess that’s really the end of the rant. This whole thing seems like they’re just trying too hard.
Am I more likely to buy Cottonelle toilet paper because of this? Absolutely not. Am I more likely to try these “Flushable Wipes”? Um, no. So was this a good use of money, time, and energy on the part of Cottonelle? I guess that’s still to be seen. Parent company Kimberly Clark’s stock price has gone up by about 1% since these TV ads launched. But I’ve written infinitely more anti-these-TV-ads blog posts since I’ve seen the ads (1), and I’m potentially going to discourage some amount of people from buying the products. So who knows?
The bottom line is: I don’t think social media needs to be a de facto part of every product or service’s sales strategy. Even well-thought-out social media integrations can seem fully wrong for certain businesses. Then again, maybe I’m just crazy.