Case Study of Wrong: Jell-O’s Fun My Life

In Customer Engagement, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales, Social media by Vaughn Highfield

Case Study of Wrong: Jell-O's Fun My Life

Case Study of Wrong is a light-hearted look at a particular company or brand that has done something to alienate customers or damage its reputation. Ultimately: don't do what they've done!

Abbreviations and acronyms flood social media outlets with Tweets, hashtags and status updates making use of them as often as the UK government finds out someone else is making use of a tax loophole. However, there are three letters that resonate more than most: FML.

The well-known, and largely overused, acronym has spawned a website of its own and has even become a turn of phrase used outside the digital space. But for Jell-O that just wasn't enough, they wanted to turn around this negative phrase and cheer up the world, offering gelatine-based goods to those pouring their heart out online.

Replacing the term FML has become known for with the disgustingly cringeworthy – and actually largely nonsensical – phrase "Fun My Life", Jell-O's twitter account went into full-scale crazy.

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Done as part of a social media marketing campaign to get the Jell-O brand name back out there, they began awarding Jell-O to a select number of FML tweeting folks.

"Genius!" you might say, what better a way to spread a brand through social media, but it backfired quite drastically. This is in part because Jell-O didn't pick their winners all too carefully…

Nothing fixes the loss of friends and a feeling of despair better than jelly. What about those doctors bills you can't easily pay? I'm pretty sure jelly can sort that right out.

Not only does this smack of marketing's terrible ability to understand certain tropes of social media, it's also another sure-fire way of showing how people don't want certain areas of their social life hounded by brands.

While Twitter is a private company and a public platform, users feel that it is their profile, it's something that belongs to them. Reaching out to them through such a medium, especially un-prompted, doesn't always sit too well – more so when it's over an issue they feel is close to their heart.

They still haven't given up on the campaign though as they continue to push forth with their wibbly-wobbly charitable efforts to the stomachs of Americans.

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George Resch sums it all up rather perfectly:

It certainly is commendable that Jell-O made their name known on Twitter, but sometimes not all PR is good PR.

What do you think about all of this?

Did Jell-O do the right thing with this campaign?

Or should they have instead stayed well away from trying to change a well-known acronym?

Why not read some more Case Study of Wrong articles?

[Image: Furryscaly – Flickr]

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