I read an informative article in The New York Times today by Stuart Elliott. It was about Pepsi’s new Tava brand beverages. Around the same time, I read an informative blog on Bokardo by Joshua Porter (it was forwarded to me by my brilliant friend Dominic).
Stuart’s story is all about Pepsi bypassing traditional media and going commando to launch the new product. Lot’s of new tech, online, feel-good ideas that combined make a potentially powerful campaign, complete with a dedicated Web site, banner ads, promotions and unconventional stunts. I must admit a bit of jealousy; it’s been a while since I’ve worked on an account the caliber of Pepsi, with the courage and budget to support such extensive and creative launches [editorial note: I am however a Coke drinker].
Joshua’s blog is about social media marketers. He suggests that social media tools amplify opinion, they do not improve it. Maybe it’s just me, but I really like this idea; maybe because it’s what I’ve been communicating to friends and associates for the past year. I love progress. I love new technology. And if there is a reason to use it, then by all means, do so. But just because something is there, doesn’t mean you should use it.
As Joshua puts it, “If your product sucks [and you give people a platform for expression], the resulting conversation will be about how much it sucks.” At the end of the day, nothing has really changed. Good companies have good people who make good products and stand by their products. Companies that do not have good people or do not make good products or do not stand by their products are what I refer to as bad companies.
In short, you can’t fake good… at least not for long. And social media simply gives the marketplace more outlets and faster access to help nature take its course. Conversely, social media serves to help good companies to grow and engage and learn and evolve.
As this relates to Stuart’s story, my guess is that if Tava is a good brand run by good people who stand behind their products, their commando campaign will be a success… and we will all know about it in real time.