Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Diet Coke's PR Hell

Good thing I drink Pepsi because according to Dr. Ralph Walton as pointed out by John McManamy, "Don't Drink the Diet Coke," there may be a correlation to depression and bipolar disorder to aspartame - the sweetener used in Diet Coke. What does this have to do with marketing? Well, as Brian Morrissey points out in Dell's Hearing Test, try typing 'Diet Coke' in Google and see what comes up. Two of the top 5 search results are pointing to articles about how Diet Coke is associated to depression. I would hate to be in their PR department right now.

This claim is based off of a single research study that was done 15 years ago and now because a blogger picked up on it it's resurfaced and is a top search result. It been up there since June 5th and there's no response from Diet Coke. Are they even listening to the conversations happening on the social web? Do they even know that post is out there and spreading further each day? Maybe they overdosed on Mentos...

My colleague Brian Ellefritz points out that this is great example of why corporations need to be monitoring (and participating) in conversations about their brand. Consumer generated media is not something that can/should be ignored. I think Mark Jarvis, CMO at Dell says it best, "Your home page is Google." From a B2B perspective we can all learn from Sun's blogging strategy in how to jump in and join the conversation and ultimately improve the sentiment of what gets communicated online. You can bet that Sun keeps a close eye on what new conversations about their brand emerge from the social web and if this happened to them I can't imagine they’d go this long without noticing.

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