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Selfie for Good.... Contrived Marketing


Yesterday I went out to eat at a restaurant. On the table was a bottle of Heinz Ketchup. The label read, "Take a Selfie for Good". By posting a picture online with your Heinz bottle, Heinz would donate up to $200,000 to Stop Hunger Now.

Did anyone else feel awkwardly uncomfortable after reading that?

That's right.... while you shovel your face full of food, you can relieve some of your middle-class burden by snapping a selfie on your mobile phone (likely quite expensive in itself) and Heinz will help those out who are too starving to afford their own meal at the restaurant (or even a bottle of ketchup). Don't do it and you're letting the poor people starve.

While I'm certain such campaigns are effective on some people, I suddenly lost all respect for Ketchup (and Heinz's public relations team) in that moment and grabbed a bottle of A1 instead (unfortunately Kraft owns them too). I know someone in marketing at their corporate office thought this was a good idea. I can imagine someone got their ideas right out of Coca-Cola's playbook. Remember all the Coke selfies people were taking with their personalized names on them? "Brilliant!", someone thought. Except, the difference was their campaign wasn't contrived. It didn't guilt people into taking the pictures, people wanted to do it. That's a big difference.

When I got home, I decided to Google the campaign. It has now finished, of course, but doing a quick Google image search for "Selfie for Good", yielded almost no results for Heinz. Googling "Heinz Selfie for Good", yielded about two dozen images. That's not much of a response for so large and expensive a campaign.  So did it work?

Well I took notice but didn't like the feeling of the campaign. I was forced to contemplate starvation and America's socio-economic crisis while eating a lemon and rosemary sirloin. No body wants to do that! I go out to eat to relax!  Also, I would have felt quite stupid posting a picture of ketchup to my Instagram and I'm guessing others would too. The bigger question you have to ask of a corporation as large as Heinz, why wouldn't you donate the money anyways (they probably would for tax purposes)? So, I think the lesson here is, innovate your campaigns, don't copy them, and when appealing to your audience's emotions, guilt is not one in which you should use unless you're certain how people will respond to it.

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