iSnack2.0 'PR disaster' discussed in New York Times

I enjoyed a great chat with NYT correspondent Meraiah Foley a few weeks back – our topic was whether Kraft’s iSnack2.0 really was a PR disaster or not; my view (that it wasn’t) are well-recorded, and Meraiah reports: “Gerry McCusker, who has written a book on public relations disasters, believes Kraft’s experience with iSnack 2.0 will become a useful case study in using controversy to “cut through the clutter” of the marketing space. “Kraft has turned a fairly pedestrian product launch into a matter of public pride and public ownership and affinity for the Vegemite brand,” Mr. McCusker said. “That’s what today’s media thrives on: the conversations, the open expression of opinions, the love, the hate, the passion — and we’re talking about a jar of spread.”

For more about the topics Meraiah and I touched on, you can read the notes I pre-prepped for our chat: Continue reading

The irony of iSnack2.0 brand haters

Has it struck anyone else how ironic the brand castigation of Kraft’s cheesy-mite snack dip has been? After all, don’t the majority of iSnack-haters follow and fete some of the most inane and lame-sounding brand names ever invented: “Twitter“, “Tweetbeep“; “TwitBin“; “Bebo“, “YouMeo“; “Reddit” etc

I’d love to know…what’s the worst Social Media brand name you’ve encountered to date?

iSnack 2.0 registered before competition closed

The SMH’s Julian Lee today sees mischief in the fact that the iSnack 2.0 name was registered b4 the comp closed…talking to Julian, I suggested that maybe this was precautionary because the name was so good! I’m also reported as saying: ”If they’ve done something untoward and have registered before it’s [the competition] allowed to run its course then their true motivations have been revealed and they’ll have to come clean, apologise and look for ways to take remedial steps”. Where I’m reported to have said ‘registered’, I’m sure the point I actually made to Julian was ‘registered and decided‘ – important distinction methinks. From a Web2.0 perspective, as Julian and I discussed, with an “army of fact-checkers” sniffing around, it’s an interesting evolution of the story.

Kraft iSnack 2.0 not a PR disaster yet.

Interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Julian Lee yesterday for today’s edition, and despite all the Social Media mudslinging, I couldn’t bring myself to conclude that Kraft’s naming and recanting of its Vegemite brand evolution as iSnack 2.0, is currently a PR disaster. As Kraft’s Simon Talbot told me this a.m., they hear and recognise that the name was a donkey  (NOTE 07/10: Kraft Public Affairs has asked me to clarify that Simon never actually said this: I agree, this was me editorialising) and that they’re gonna change it. To me, that’s responsive PR at its theoretical best! And with 3million jars of the new product sold already, consumers actually love the dip inside the jar. This suggests the business case will stack up and be the proof of the pudding, as it were. This was my reading of the situ for both Julian Lee and Simon Talbot:     

As they’ve been ‘in’ SocMed for about 30 months, and done a lot of research, Kraft’s team is savvy.
I believe the online PR and marcomms team at Kraft get Social Media.
I said this is no PR disaster, yet.
Am weary of those e-gomaniac/e-xperts who decry everything (even bore myself when I do it)
I think Kraft’s naming engagement mechanic was good.
I think they’re practicising effective PR; ie dialogue, response and re-engagement.
I believe they’re consciously walking the controversy management line. NOTE: SIMON T DISSUADES ME FROM THIS NOTION
I do think it’s v clever to get 2/3 PR bites at the launch cherry for the brand evolution.
Historically “letting the people decide” plays out like a vote winner.
And no, I don’t think this will be a PR disaster for the sub or parent brand in the long term.
I asked Simon another two questions:
Truthfully, did you accurately gauge the level, nature and spread (pardon the pun) of e-commentary and response to your first chosen name?
What’s the rough value/worth from the associated PR coverage (digital and trad media) to date?

He answered the first by reiterating the name was a donkey, (this was Gerry McC paraphrasing) and answered the second saying that the Wall St Journal and BBC were keen on this as a developing story; advertising equivalent measurers, standby! I trust Simon will advise me if he gets a handle on the evaluation equation.