Oreo – taking the biscuit?

If like me, you enjoy social media AND cookies, last week’s Oreo story can’t have escaped your attention.  Oreo, the world’s ‘favourite’ cookie attempted a world record on its Facebook page.

The premise was simple: amass the most number of ‘likes’ for a Facebook post within 24 hours, creating a huge raft of PR and thousands of new ‘fans’ in the process.

Needless to say, the weight of marketing and PR behind this stunt ensured that Oreo secured a record breaking 114,619 ‘likes’ within 24 hours (although this figure was hugely usurped by rapper ‘Lil Wayne’ the same week, amassing a staggering 588,243 likes from amongst his 20 million fans).

Whilst the brevity of this record is perhaps a tad embarrassing, Oreo is rightly milking (forgive the cookie analogy) the PR for all it’s worth.  But while many are lauding this as a great piece of social media marketing, is this in fact simply a PR stunt?

The very concept of social media is around the concept of engagement – connecting with customers and building deeper, more meaningful relationships.  Whilst the record attempt has driven huge volumes of ‘fans’ to the brand’s Facebook page, how valuable will these ‘numbers’ be in the long-term?

Brands using social media have to realise that consumers want to engage and be involved with your brand in a way that adds value to them as consumers.  Whether this is an opportunity to be rewarded as a loyal customer and receive discounts, or an opportunity to help shape the brand direction or new products, social media is NOT a large ‘mailing list’.

All social media should offer value, engagement and the chance to be part of a community.  The word ‘social’ is SO fundamental to social media, but incredibly, a concept that is so often overlooked.

From a PR perspective, Oreo deserve HUGE kudos.  They’ve tapped into an innovative way to create buzz around the brand and do something newsworthy.  But many social media specialists are arguing that this exercise has been nothing more than a public fishing for ‘fans’, focusing on record-breaking numbers as opposed to genuine consumer engagement.

And THAT is what ‘social’ media is all about.

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