Wispa it quietly

21 Jan

It's been ironic reading so many positive comments about Cadbury, in a batch of essay assignments, in the week its directors recommended the proposed acquisition of the business by Kraft.

Wispa One comment in particular seems worth revisiting. The now-famous bring back Wispa campaign was cited as a good example of relationship management (in the way the company apparently did a U turn and responded to its customers' wishes). The same campaign is also named by Phillips and Young as a good example of  'groundswell' – using social media channels for campaigning purposes.

What if it's neither of these? What if the bring back Wispa campaign was an example of an old-fashioned PR stunt out of Barnum & Bailey, or from Grunig and Hunt's bad old press agentry/publicity model.

You see, our transparent age of social media is meant to make the old-style PR stunt ineffective (unacceptable too). So it's awkward to find an example of it working so well – and the source of the campaign being able to cover their tracks.

So, based on a nudge and a wink more than hard evidence, I name Borkowski as the PR brains behind the Wispa campaign. (He continues to deny it publicly but he's probably made the commitment to do so to the client). Let's please stop using it as an example of the crowd versus business. It's an example of PR orchestration simulating (and stimulating) public opinion. We think we're so sophisticated, but it seems we're still suckers for the old gags.

Freddie Starr ate my wispa.

2 Responses to “Wispa it quietly”

  1. Clare Siobhan Callery 22/01/2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I agree that the Wispa was probably a PR stunt, but a good one.
    One of the better example of crowd vrs business is probably the RATM Facebook Campaign vrs The X Factor (or Simon Cowell, who is really a business in himself).
    Its always nice to see the ‘power to the people’ when it works, hopefully we will see it more and more often thanks to the ease and availability of social media tools.

  2. David Phillips 23/01/2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Oh Yes, you are probably right Richard. But it came to hand so easily and Clare is right, the RATM campaign is a better example.
    But we are seeing the power of the online niche catching the wider mood more often now.
    How on earth did Waitrose do so well in December?
    The growth in traffic and conversation from March to the end of the years is remarkable and, without being to harsh, the Waitrose interaction was, well, limited.
    Their present GOSH programme and retro move into email marketing is an interesting strategy and seems to be distant from the 3000 people who give the brand a lift in a typical week.
    I guess the other supermarkets will be watching very closely.

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