The problem with crowdsourcing our every little move with audiences is that the well-intentioned “we want your feedback” attitude can quickly turn into a “sorry we asked” lament. Take Hillshire Farms for example. The sausage company had a hit with its four-year “Go Meat!” commercials, which became textbook cases of viral marketing done right. So when the company decided to ditch its old slogan, a pre-campaign was launched essentially warning viewers it was going away. And apparently that was a big mistake.
You can’t blame the sausage makers’ instinct for choosing to prepare HF loyalists for the fact that they would never see their beloved meaty commercials again. Yet you have to wonder if this “get ready because it’s going away” technique didn’t set Hillshire Farms up to fail. When the new commercials were rolled out this week, YouTube viewers reacted harshly. As noted by Adweek, comments ranged from “this sucks” to “bring back Go Meat.” Being social media-savvy and hip to digital engagement, the brand has offered apologies and promises if Hillshire fans give the new campaign a chance, they might like it.
Again, we appreciate HF being sensitive to its customers’ wants and likes. But when it comes to marketing, let them eat sausage. It’s a commercial; people will move on. Listening to audiences is one thing… but not having faith in our campaigns and throwing our creative vision under the bus every time the masses are unhappy is a little ridiculous. Once upon a time, brands released new campaigns with zero warning and fans never saw their favorite ads ever again. Guess what? We all survived; people continued to spend money and the world didn’t stop spinning. The downside of being hyper-connected to consumers is that brands are also hypersensitive to every move and mumble of the masses.
So what say you, dear readers? Has the crowdsource craze inhibited daring marketing? Let us have it in the comments section below.