Good marketing practice is not that difficult. It just seems that it’s so much easier to screw it up.
Whenever I’ve been in a meeting room where marketers are discussing social media, everyone agrees unanimously that the difference between it and straightforward advertising is that it’s a two-way street. Twitter and Facebook are platforms for conversations. In strategic meetings, at conferences and in marketing textbooks everywhere, everyone says they understand this.
And yet in practice, it’s so very different.
Today, this tweet appeared on my timeline.
It made me quite annoyed. While I’m sure there is the equivalent of the juice from eight apples in a pint of Strongbow, by omission it very clearly implies that this is all there is. It suggests that the apples are squeezed, the juice is fermented, and that’s basically it.
But this is completely untrue. Strongbow is approximately 37% apple juice . If that’s the wrong figure, I’ll happily correct it if anyone from Bulmers – now part of Heineken – cares to tell me the correct figure. But they won’t, because they don’t want you to know. Anyway, I’ve been told on good authority that it’s 37%.
That juice has been reconstituted from concentrate, much of which is shipped in from abroad. Bulmers does use a lot of apples from Herefordshire as they claim, but there are not enough apples in Herefordshire to cater for the huge volumes it makes.
Strongbow then has more water added to bring the alcohol strength down from its natural 7-8% ABV, and lots of sugar, additives and flavourings to stop it tasting so watery.
So the tweet above is misleading, if not downright dishonest.
You can get away with that in advertising (though I will also be complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority about this tweet) but you can’t get away with it in the conversation that is social media.
You might be able to make out the first response above: “that’s bollocks and you know it!”
Further down the page, the responses come thick and fast:
There’s even a correction to the incorrect terminology on the tweet:
This reminds me of the claim in another tweet from the brand which claims Strongbow is ‘brewed in Herefordshire’. I’m not sure how Strongbow is made, but I do know that cider is not ‘brewed’. Brewing is the heating/boiling of water with infused ingredients, such as tea leaves or hops. Cider is ‘made’ – at least in the method that Strongbow claims to follow here – and no brewing takes place. You’d really expect the UK’s biggest cider brand to know a little bit about how cider is made.