Social media though is sought after by marketers for its “attractive” benefits. However, I discuss in this post how it also involves high risk element. Nestle, the ubiquitous brand of the Earth, faced an unexpected challenging campaign against it raised by Greenpeace in March, 2010. Nestle was accused of using inexpensive Palm Oil (mostly sourced from Indonesian rainforest) instead of cacao butter in its leading brand Kit-Kat. It was not the use of palm oil that infuriated Greenpeace, but the major concern was the loss of rainforest for Oranguttans. Usually marketers tend to incline towards social media, but in this case Greenpeace utilized the social media to spread negative word-of-mouth. Greenpeace created maximum damage by floating two videos (Video 1 & Video 2) on YouTube. This lead to furore which spread like a forest fire through the Nestle’s Profile pages on Facebook & Twitter. Greenpeace not only used third party social media platforms, but also used its website to spread awareness amongst nature lovers about the deforestation caused by Nestle which was becoming dangerous for Oranguttans.
This kind of situation is worst for any company to face….Think of a situation where one adapts a platform to build image, but people make use of the same platform to degrade the image……An important point to notice is that social media spreads negative publicity at the same rate (probably even at a faster rate) than the positive publicity….This reminds me of times when Cadbury faced worm issue and Coca-Cola faced pesticides, had social media been more active in those times, it would have been a tough task for these giants to control the antagonism against them.
As a reader of this post you would wonder didn’t Nestle respond to this initiative…yes it did, with a mere explanation on its website which read: “The company recently announced its commitment to using only ‘Certified Sustainable Palm Oil’ by 2015, when sufficient quantities should be available.”
Time would decide if it would be early enough for Nestle to justify its position by 2015…..Marketers: Beaware of your antagonists who are anxiously waiting for an opportunity to prove their worth!!