The snack food company Hostess has caused a stir with a seemingly tone-deaf tweet that celebrated the start of the baseball season with a blatant reference to football.
The company tweeted this on Monday:
Baseball fans were quick to let Hostess know that it had made a mistake.
But the company claims the tweet was a planned marketing ploy.
“Since embarking on the ‘Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever’ nearly two years ago, Hostess has employed a strategy aimed at contemporizing the brand,” Hostess spokeswoman Ellen Copaken said in an emailed statement. “The bolder approach has been particularly visible in the brand’s social media platforms. The Touchdown’ line was intentional; it’s fun and aimed at young audiences who are in on the running joke — which, of course, is the goalllll.”
In other words, the company was well aware that it would baffle baseball fans, who would then share the tweet and increase the Hostess’ brand awareness.
Hostess kept the “joke” going when Sports Illustrated tweeted that the company might have its sports confused.
It’s not unusual for companies to use customers’ outrage or confusion to their advantage in attention-grabbing ad campaigns.
One notable instance happened in 2008 when the company that makes the pain reliever Motrin began airing a commercial that likened carrying a baby to a painful fashion statement in an appeal to young mothers.
“Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience,” the ad’s narrator says. “But what about me?” The ad recommended Motrin to treat the pain of carrying a child.
Outraged consumers vowed to boycott the brand and Motrin was forced to apologise and pull the ads.
But the campaign created widespread buzz around the pain reliever, and for that, the ad could be considered a success, according to branding experts. Within a matter of weeks the outrage simmered and what was left was greater brand awareness.
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