If we know one thing for sure, it's that social media trends can be pretty wacky and unpredictable.
What a topsy turvy month it has been in the world of social media! First, there was Gorilla glue doubling up as hair gel and then we had the baked beans on Weetabix fiasco. Generating PR and engagement for brands continues to be a game of either purposeful mischief or sheer coincidence turned viral.
Both incidents, one planned, one unintended, showed two completely different examples of brand awareness and how it can be capitalised on, or not in some cases. It begs the question – why as consumers, are we drawn into this madness and why do we always take the bait brands dangle at us?
How should brands respond and engage with the audience in these circumstances, do they gain points if they show their humorous and funny side?
Viral news sensation: Gorilla Glue for hair gel
Let’s start with Gorilla Glue. Like many, I saw the viral TikTok video and watched on in disbelief. It was difficult to comprehend why people were trying to use industrial-strength glue in their hair, but often as with these viral social media trends, people are thinking first of the content, then the consequences. With the hashtag #gorillagluegirl taking over Twitter, it certainly is a stunt that gained a lot of attention.
Nobody could argue against Gorilla Glue’s formal statement about the trending video “We do not recommend using Gorilla Glue’s Spray Adhesive or any of our products in hair as they are considered permanent,” the company told POPSUGAR. “Our Gorilla Spray Adhesive clearly states on our packaging that it dries permanent and forms a heavy-duty bond.”
Did the brand miss an opportunity?
Given the seriousness of permanently bonding your hair together, it was easy to see why they went down this matter of fact route, however, it could have been an opportunity to own the situation, indulge us in this madness and to see the funny side of it all.
A smart quip, or even better, a sensible reactive social media post like offering to have the glue removed and using this as a case study for the effectiveness of the product, would have won many people over and ultimately put even more gravitas on the brand. After all, we want to see a happy ending and a good guy jump in to save the day.
Viral news sensation: Baked beans and Weetabix
I’ve been eating Weetabix since I was young and have enjoyed it topped with many things, from fresh and dried fruit, to sugar and honey. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, however, is that Weetabix has no place with baked beans.
It’s a ridiculous notion. The brand and content team that came up with this preposterous idea also knows it’s crazy, but they played a social media masterstroke. They knew that once they dangled the Weetabix sized carrot, we wouldn’t be able to resist the bait and would engage with the campaign.
As a social media-fuelled nation, we all love to throw our two pence in on the latest scandal so we can have our say. What made this one even better was the instant online ‘pile on’ that Weetabix got from both people and brands.
Superdrug, NHS, Nando’s, Toblerone, KFC, BMW and Papa John’s all weighed in with their disdain, and we loved it. I don’t think baked beans and Weetabix will be making it onto many people’s breakfast bowls in the morning, however, Weetabix was the name of many people’s lips and that’s what reactive marketing to generate brand awareness is all about.
What brands can learn from this week’s social media madness
Whilst Gorilla Glue got drawn into a sticky situation (pun very much intended), we can’t knock them down for reminding us of the dangers of misusing adhesives, we wanted a glimmer of personality and hoped they would make light of it.
We want brands to be cheeky, funny, mischievous, charming and funny on social media. Almost like they are the friend in the group who will take the mickey out of you and make you laugh regardless of what’s happened. It all adds to the brand experience and consumer perception.
For successful social media campaigns, be like Weetabix. Be overtly ridiculous and humour us with the extraordinary and downright madness. We embrace that and it pays dividends. I am sure there’s been a few extra boxes of Weetabix sold since the campaign – not sure about the baked beans though.
If you want to discuss how to use social media to your advantage, please get in touch.