Coincidentally, @adage retweeted this shortly after I’d been having a related conversation with a coworker today:
Apple juice or orange juice?—
PepsiCo (@pepsico) November 15, 2011
Seriously, @pepsico? Throw a question mark on the end of something and call it engagement? (See what I’m doing with the question marks, btw?) I want more from brands/organizations in social space than simply having them stick a question mark on the end of a list of two juices and burrowing into my twit feed.
To its credit @pepsico responded, but with something just as inane as its original touch-’em-all tweet:
If you wanted to know what I had for breakfast, why didn’t you just ask in the first place? Owning the breakfast conversation, FTW! #breakfast. I get it. And, I’m again reminded of the same scene from “Falling Down”. Seems kind of odd that @pepsico cares about my breakfast (FAGE yogurt, water, lukewarm coffee) and whether I’m having a good morning (yes, I was having a great morning, although it could have been better had I stayed away from Twitter).
I’m not going out of my way to call out PepsiCo in particular here–it just happens to be a big company with lots of brands under its umbrella and always seems to be well regarded in the higher echelon of organizations embracing social media. What frustrates me is the seeming norm these days that brands engaging in social media are playing it safe and posting dull messaging in the guise of engagement. It can be so much better than this, can’t it? Why does it seem that safe/dull brand engagement is on the rise? I could be wrong–post links that prove otherwise in comments–I’d love to see them.
When I left my post publishing/community managing/engaging for Dunkin’ Donuts on Twitter and Facebook, my feeling at the time (April 2010) was we were on the cusp of a new frontier of brands as publishers and content creators. In a good way, I thought. Create compelling stuff–videos, blog posts, tweets, whatever–and if you’ve got the following they’ll distribute and you’ll benefit (however your organization qualifies that). I was a firm believer that if an organization invested in compelling engagement as much as in tools and other related social media resources, it had a shot to emerge as a source of entertainment or information or whatever place a magazine or similar traditional media serves/served. It also seemed to me that many fellow writers/journalists would find opportunities within organizations to bring these new functions to life and take risks and do interesting things within social media. Granted, certain brands would be more conducive to this brave new world than others. Dunkin’ has/had the potential to be one of these brands and its current social media interaction, as I’ve witnessed without special scrutiny from its place among the noise, is no better at it than all the other brands playing it safe.
Oh wait, what?
Oh, so then it was an experience then. In that case, I prefer orange juice.