The Kellogg Co. has became the latest entity to get into hot water over a social media post. The company’s UK branch tweeted: “1 RT= 1 breakfast for the vulnerable child.” This was part of its “Give a Child a Breakfast” campaign to fund school breakfast clubs in “vulnerable” areas.
Unfortunately, Kellogg’s UK was immediately accused of “blackmailing” followers for retweets in order to increase social media exposure. Some felt the company was trying to advertise itself by using starving children as leverage. Many people took to Twitter to criticize the brand and to make fun of this campaign all together.
This picture, poking fun at the company, circulated on Twitter.
The Kellogg’s UK was quick to apologize and delete the tweet, calling it “distasteful” and saying it was the “wrong use of words.”
PR Daily posted an article pointing out that there have been dozen of campaigns like this before that did not generate criticism. In fact, this is a fairly typical tactic used by many companies, so why did this particular one get scrutinized? The article went on to say it could have been the language used or the way it was presented.
The Independent points out, this is not the first time the company has tweeted about the campaign. A week prior, Kellogg UK tweeted:
They also posted about it in mid-October.
Neither of these tweets received the same negative feedback as the most recent “1 RT= 1 breakfast for a vulnerable child.” But the question is why? It is the same campaign with the same motives and public relations plan, just different wording. Although some may not realize, these situations demonstrate the power of words is crucial, especially with sensitive subjects. Just like these Kellogg’s tweets, a simple change in wording generates a completely different response from audiences. This shows the importance of choosing appropriate language in public campaigns or posts.
So what do you think? Do the Kellogg Co. handle the situation correctly? Should it have done more than simply tweeting an apology? Do you think it really is about wording? What would you have done in this situation?