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Coca-Cola Uses ‘Two Girls One Cup’ in Viral Marketing Campaign

Coca-Cola Uses ‘Two Girls One Cup’ in Viral Marketing Campaign

CYBERSPACE—In an almost unbelievable display of marketing lunacy, Cola-Cola used the infamous “Two Girls one Cup” video in a Facebook campaign conducted in the United Kingdom, and actually posted it to the profile of a 14-year-old girl. They didn’t post the amazingly offensive video, of course, but they did refer to it by name, which is just about as bad. This is one video that is NSFW even at AVN!

Leaving aside the particulars of the video—you’re welcome—the marketing faux pas is one for the ages. (Do they give out awards for this sort of thing? If not, they really should!) The campaign, which has been shut down, was for Dr. Pepper, a Coca-Cola product, and worked like this: In order to be eligible to win a weekly £1,000 giveaway, facebook users allowed their status box to be taken over by the company.

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“As part of the promotion,” reported the Guardian, “supposedly embarrassing messages would be posted under the user's name, which could be seen by friends entitled to view their Facebook profile.”

Someone in the messaging pipeline messed up, however, and posted a reference to the disgusting video to Mrs. Rickman’s daughter that said, “I watched 2 girls one cup and felt hungry afterwards.” Mrs. Rickman took her outrage directly to the U.K.-based Mumsnet forum, where it got a proper viewing and a viral campaign that at least rivaled that of Coke’s.

“OK here goes,” wrote Mum on July 16. “Coca Cola are running a promo via their Dr Pepper brand just now on facebook. It is called 'status takeover' and involves the application putting an embarrassing or funny status on your FB page.

“My 14 yo dd participated and I was HORRIFIED to log into FB and see that her status read - 'I watched 2 girls one cup and felt hungry afterwards'. For anyone who doesn't know what this means, please stay ignorant, for those who do, you can imagine how I felt. This was compounded later on when a quick search through dds internet history revealed she had tried to find out what it was for herself. Thankfully, our ISP has a wonderful child filter!!

“So, after various emails and phonecalls to CocaCola marketing I have been offered (quite offensively) as way of compensation, a night in a hotel and theatre tickets for the West End. Fat lot of use to me, we live in Glasgow.

“So, how do I proceed? ASA? I am absolutely fizzing with rage and disgust, and want a full apology and explanation. CocaCola are saying they use outside marketing teams for different brands and it's outside their jurisdiction. Help!?”

What a great mom, huh? First, she monitors her daughter’s internet activities; second, she actually uses an internet filter on the computer.

Coca-Cola should be bending over backwards for this woman and her daughter, and turn their idiocy into lemonade, if it’s possible. Predictably, however, the company was initially slow to respond.

“I spoke to the Coca-Cola marketing manager this morning,” Mrs. Rickman posted up later in the day Friday. “She explained that that particular 'embarrassing status' was being removed from the promo. The promo is still running. She explained that Coca-Cola were not involved in the design of the promo and she thanked me for bringing it to their attention. I just want rid of this feeling of rage that I have, I haven't felt this angry or undermined for a long time.”

Then, according to the Guardian, “She was offered compensation of theatre tickets for a West End show and a night in a London hotel,” but that also backfired.

"Fat lot of use to me, we live in Glasgow," said Mrs. Rickman.

Sunday, the company officially apologized. "It has been brought to our attention that the Dr Pepper promotion on Facebook posted an offensive status update. We apologize for any offence caused," a spokesman said. "As soon as we became aware of this, we took immediate action and removed the status update from the application. We have also taken the decision to end the promotion. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this does not happen again."

Uh-huh.






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Tom Hymes

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