The Dr Pepper Facebook fiasco – who cares?

So we’re running a campaign where we’re going to target teens by offering the chance to win money if they let us take over their Facebook status updates and post embarrassing things. Well, what’s the worst that could happen? Erm, probably this.

So Dr Pepper are in trouble, they have angered moms everywhere by posting an irresponsible pornographic status on a 14 year old’s Facebook page, their agency (Lean Mean Fighting Machine) have lost their contract with Coca-Cola (a major blow) but do the Dr P fans really care?

Well I took a look on their Facebook page to find out and here are my summary findings:

  • They don’t care
  • Most don’t know why the competition was pulled
  • Many have expressed strong positive sentiment toward the contest
  • There is a bigger debate on the page about “does Dr P kill sperm”
  • In the week since the end of the contest conversation has completely moved on

Here are some samples from the page:

First here is the only post I could find about the fiasco itself in recent days:

Here are a couple about bringing back the comp as it was good fun:

And here is a personal favourite:

Of course there was some negativity, but there is a lot more conversation about this:

So Dr Pepper’s target market, the younger people who the competition is aimed at and who fan the brand on Facebook don’t care, they liked the competition and want more of it.

Now I’m not saying that the bad publicity and negativity hasn’t hurt them, it may even have cost Dr P some sales, if angry parents boycott the brand, but overall I think the story of Dr Pepper’s status takeover is a little more complex than “brand screwed up social” I would say:

  • Brand had an interesting idea
  • Tried it and their community loved it, even if some others didn’t
  • Agency goes way too far and got burned
  • Social media community reacts
  • We end up with posts like this and this
  • We forget that prior to the “2 girls one cup” post this was a good campaign

We’re all very quick to jump on the latest social media fail, maybe a little too quick.

But don’t miss-quote me on this, I am not telling you to go and piss off the moms community or reference porn in front of minors, that is just inexcusable. And I am not defending the agency that did this, but let’s all remember that this was a decent campaign, it engaged the fans in something fun and interesting that they clearly enjoyed and to be honest, Dr P’s Facebook community don’t really care that Dr P screwed up, most don’t seem to know.

Oh and Dr P really should tackle those “impotency” issues – it’s a major driver of negative conversation on their page.

Take a look at their page and let me know what do you think.

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2 responses to “The Dr Pepper Facebook fiasco – who cares?

  1. To be honest, Dr P pulled the competition because of the bad *press* it was getting, not an ‘uproar’ from fans.

    This situation was more about the backlash to the campaign from trade press against Coca-Cola rather than anything outside of the social media bubble.

  2. Hi Vikki, thanks for commenting, I agree Dr P pulled the competition because of bad press, that is obvious. My point is to tackle the misconception in the Guardian article linked to above along with other posts I have read that the facebook fans “bemoaned the abrupt ending of the competition” and “complained that the promised cash prize for successful participants had been harder to win than anticipated” – from my research that is simply not true, there was some negativity but overall the fans were positive toward the competition.

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