The cooking oil brand Gold Winner ‘executed’ a campaign for Mother’s Day, yesterday, on Twitter. Take a look.
1/ Mass copy-paste, engineered Twitter campaigns are not new anymore after politicians have exploited that silly tactic to the hilt. But using the same photos with accompanying texts that categorically indicate ‘I cooked this’ is another level of lame altogether.
2/ The campaign seems insulting at multiple levels, to multiple parties.
- It is insulting to mothers overall because it incentivizes so-called online influencers to lie about having cooked something for them (with the similar photos as evidence that nothing was perhaps cooked, or in the unlikely event that what was cooked was unbearably un-photogenic).
- It is insulting to the so-called online influencers because they come across as unthinking drones who are willing to partake in this farce with similar photos.
- It is insulting to the brand because it seems like it, or its agency is willing to do anything in the name of social media marketing to get the word out. Even if it looks incredibly stupid.
3/ Most of the food photos are from existing blogs and online websites. They have been used in this campaign with no credit whatsoever. That is atrociously unfair and unethical, by the brand and by the influencers.
Here’s a thread that catalogs some of the photo’copies’:
4/ Given the fact that so many people have identical photos of what they cooked, right up to the last spring onion and tomato piece’s placement on the food items, it is most likely that the brand or its agency downloaded these ‘representational’ photos from any and every source they deemed fit and shared it as photos that the influencers may share. That is, once again, unfair and unethical.
5/ There are enough and more people talking about this copy-paste farce and laughing at both the brand that enabled this nonsense and the influencers for making a fool of themselves and assuming that their followers are gullible fools to fall for this. Most of the larger fan-base ‘influencers’ have a lot of comments that poke endless fun on this joke of a campaign (most of it in Tamil).
6/ Even amidst this monumental mess of a campaign, some ‘influencers’ seem to have put a mild amount of thought in their phrasing, though their copy-paste photos are a dead giveaway. Take a look at Prashanth’s tweet vs. Haricharan’s. While the latter asserts that his dad and he ‘whipped up’ that dish for his mother, Prashanth doesn’t make any such claim. He simply suggests that people could make it as a Mother’s Day special in their homes. Of course, the photo puts his effort into the same quagmire as others.
7/ For the influencers, these fake proclamations of love towards their mothers exist alongside their other real emotions and feelings expressed on Twitter. They are not alone in this bizarre dual-life situation, though – they have Shah Rukh Khan for company! See: Dummies guide to Shah Rukh Khan’s tweets – real or acting?
Why is this is an issue?
Consider a scenario: Gold Winner gets 3 leading film actors and showcases the dishes they had made for their mothers, in the form of a TV ad. Would you doubt the actors – if they really made those dishes? You wouldn’t – you’d naturally and simply presume that these are actors who act for a fee, whether in movies or ads. And that this ad is simply a make-believe script. And you go with the flow and get the ‘feeling’ intended by the ad without going into the honesty behind it.
But, these so-called influencers are not professional actors. Hence, they acting as if they care enough for their mothers to cook something on Mother’s Day stand out as a bizarre act. And worse, such fake assertions live beside other actually true opinions and views that they may be posting on the same handle/platform. That dichotomy—which one is a paid-for act and which is their real feeling/opinion?—is terrible.
8/ I have no clue why brands and agencies still indulge in such monumentally stupid and shallow online promotions. It’s not as if they know all these things. The only explanation is that they know it and couldn’t care less. All they want is a LOT of people talking about their product with stock statements and stock photos. It doesn’t need to be real for them and even questions and mockery of the campaign don’t really matter to them at all. You could call it anything – confidence, bravado, chutzpah… or idiocy.
PS: It looks like Gold Winner is trying to indulge in some damage control at least with regard to the copyright issue, by paying off some of the bloggers from whom they stole images. Here’s one blogger asking an allegation tweet to be taken down even as she continues to refer to it as plagiarism a few hours prior to it.