Gini Dietrich

Old PR Stunts Don’t Drive Sales

By: Gini Dietrich | September 14, 2011 | 
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If you regularly read Spin Sucks, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I’m a really big believer in using PR and marketing to build income (and, in some cases, profits and higher margins).

Measuring results has become even easier during the past five years and, because of that, we have to stop doing things that grab media attention, but don’t make sense for the brand nor drive sales.

It’s our responsibility to measure results; it’s not the responsibility of our clients or our executives.

Our responsibility.

That’s why, when I see things like the following news segment with the Guinness Book of World Records-seeking World’s Finest Chocolate, I go a little nuts.

In fact, when Patti Knight brought it up in our staff meeting, I said, “Hello World’s Finest Chocolate? 1980 called and wants their PR stunt back.”

Before we talk about why this stunt won’t work, go ahead and watch the video. Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you.

(Click here to watch if you can’t view in your RSS feed.)

I’ll give them that the stats are pretty impressive: 12,000 pounds of chocolate that is 21 feet long. And they’ll win the record (or have won it). Pretty cool.

But answer me this:

  • Why is a “Think Big, Eat Smart” campaign coming from a chocolate bar company?
  • Why is a chocolate bar company talking to kids about portion control?
  • Why is a chocolate bar company that has nothing healthy in it talking to kids about eating smart?
  • How is this going to help them sell more chocolate? As Patti said, “I love chocolate, but this makes me sick to my stomach.”
  • How does this kind of media attention help them?
  • Is it disturbing to anyone else that they said, “Once we have their attention, we’ll talk to them about healthy eating and portion control.”? Um, Mr. CMO? Spin Sucks.

Maybe you’re saying, “But Gini. There is no such thing as bad PR. I mean, you’re talking about this stunt.”

Baloney. My talking about it isn’t going to make you find your nearest Cub Scout so you can order their chocolate, is it?

Why do we still insist on using old tactics that don’t drive sales?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Kids LOVE world records!!! I was fascinated by them as a kid and if a brand did something like that it would stick in my memory. As adults it is gross but for a child it is inspiring. The world record title will impress kids and they WILL want it. Most kids don’t have a sense of scale, volume or size so the title of world record holder will make them realise it’s the BIGGEST. Will it drive sales? I think actually yes – it will be top of mind for a lot of kids and we know just how well pester power works. The message about healthy eating? That’s BS. They feel they have to do that so they are not slammed.

    Once the win they will have that title until someone else does it – I think they DO have mileage with it. Sometimes old tactics serve a different purpose – who’s to say there aren’t some old dudes at the top who want to see this in lights before they die? (I know I worked for a few peeps like that in the past) … success is subjective … and all that jazz!

  • Whoop! Was I first in?

  • With diabetes and obesity being such an issue – this is beyond dumb. More people are eating organic foods and trying to lose weight. A better idea instead of something so disgusting 9no wonder people in other countries think we are fat slobs – many of us are) why not talk about the health benefits of dark chocolate in moderation? It is a lot less sexy than a world record, but being a voice of sanity in a sometimes insane world can also make you stand out.

    Gluttony in this day and age? Come on. This is not the 70s. Wake up people. i also think that there is such a thing as bad publicity. They wanted to build this obnoxious, disgusting bar and then have the nerve to talk portion control? How about creating a candy bar that just is one serving and not two (or three? Now THAT would be interesting!

  • ginidietrich

    @Ameena Falchetto I agree that kids love this stuff. It’ll work, from the perspective that it’ll get the kids to go see it on the tour. But the bigger issue is that they don’t sell to kids. They don’t even sell at retail. So they’re targeting an audience who can’t even create pester power. The organizations, like the Cub Scouts, are the buyers. At the national levels.

  • ginidietrich

    @Ameena Falchetto you were first!

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 It’s funny. We had this debate internally, before I wrote this. Half of the team agrees with what Ameena says below. The other half agrees with you. Lisa even checked out the content of the chocolate and none of it is dark. There is nothing healthy about it.

  • If I were a kid, I would be upset that I didn’t have a chance to eat the world’s largest chocolate bar.

    As an adult, I’m upset that I didn’t have a chance to eat the world’s largest chocolate bar.

    Either way, nobody gained a customer, and I’m left without a gargantuan chocolate construction.

  • ginidietrich

    @JayDolan Right?!? We were all craving chocolate after watching this yesterday.

  • ginidietrich

    @JayDolan Right?!? We were all craving chocolate after watching this yesterday.

  • JodiEchakowitz

    This campaign is an oxymoron! It’s one thing to create a chocolate bar that size to break a record, but using it to get a kids attention so you can teach them about healthy eating, well that’s just plain stupid. Did anyone else notice that amount of liquor in the chocolate bar?

  • One lesson here, bigger is always better.

    Seriously dumb. I remember from my days in PR the pain of organizing a Guiness validation process for a client who ran a taxi company. Basically they got all their taxis on the road at the same time.

    It was pointless since at the time they were the only taxi company in Dubai.

    The client felt so much bigger after. Maybe that’s what he wanted. He got his photo next to his taxis on the front page in the largest daily the next day. This doesn’t say much about journalistic standards but even less about the taxi company marketing department.

    Did it achieve more sales? Well they were the ones 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @JodiEchakowitz THANK YOU! I thought, “Huh. That’s a lot of liquor.” The debate we had in the office yesterday (and to @Ameena Falchetto point below), getting attention with the kids with something like this works. BUT. I think it likely confuses the messages – chocolate and eating smart; thinking big and portion control. AND they can’t create pester power to get their parents to buy them this chocolate because it’s not sold at retail. I’m stumped.

  • ginidietrich

    @John Falchetto LOL! That’s a great story. Sometimes brand awareness is simply driven by ego.

  • @ginidietrich Sometimes?

  • JodiEchakowitz

    @ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto I’m stumped too! I wonder if parents realize how ridiculous it would be to have their kids learn about healthy eating from a company that makes/sells chocolates.

  • JodiEchakowitz

    @ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto I’m stumped too! I wonder if parents realize how ridiculous it would be to have their kids learn about healthy eating from a company that makes/sells chocolates.

  • ginidietrich

    @John Falchetto Ha. Fair point. Although I don’t think Coke builds brand awareness for ego’s sake. There is a pretty interesting discussion happening in the financial world in the States. They’re talking about putting some real value around brand awareness and equity. It would change accounting practices, but I, for one, would love to see that happen. Then these stunts WILL matter.

  • ginidietrich

    @JodiEchakowitz I’m not a parent, but I have lots of nieces and nephews (#14 was born this morning!) and I would totally take them to see this if it were here and I needed something to entertain them. But we’d go simply to see the 12,000 pounds of chocolate. Not for any other reason.

  • molliewrites

    I also this on the news and had to roll my eyes. Aside from the extreme mixed messages for kids, this stunt didn’t really make me think about World’s Finest Chocolate brand. It just made me think of chocolate.

    As pointed out below, this is a company that doesn’t sell at retail. It’s very possible that dollars spent to satisfy the hankering for chocolate will be spent on brands available at the local grocery or drug store.

  • molliewrites

    I also this on the news and had to roll my eyes. Aside from the extreme mixed messages for kids, this stunt didn’t really make me think about World’s Finest Chocolate brand. It just made me think of chocolate.

    As pointed out below, this is a company that doesn’t sell at retail. It’s very possible that dollars spent to satisfy the hankering for chocolate will be spent on brands available at the local grocery or drug store.

  • @JodiEchakowitz@ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto I am a parent. This is dumb. My son is a real foodie too. He likes going to Whole Foods and eating organics. He wants fresh fruit, good quality cheese, and he likes when we cook together. He likes chocolate, but if I showed him that he would say “Mommy that’s dumb”

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 But I’ll bet he likes a really nice dark chocolate with some sea salt. Oh wait. That’s me.

  • ginidietrich

    @molliewrites Right?! It certainly made me crave chocolate. I love the dark chocolate and carmel bites, that have sea salt on them, from Whole Foods. In fact, I had one last night. 🙂

  • If you dont like stunts I can not wait til you sink the spin sucks into the latest Target stunt that completely blow up their Guest community with the release of Missoni. Limited supplies in store to look like HIGH demand (even though there was already, right size your supply chain to over deliver to your Guest), then “website down because of demand” They completely blew up sales on other products to get this “perceived demand”

  • ginidietrich

    @keithprivette OMG! I saw that on the news this morning. My initial thought was, “Who are these crazy women racing to get into Target?” But is this any different than what any other brand does, especially around the holidays? How many stories have we read about people camping out to get the newest Tickle Me Elmo or Wii?

  • JodiEchakowitz

    @NancyD68 I think I need my kids to meet your son! My daughter (9 y/o) in particular, who is a chocoholic (and that’s putting it mildly), would see a chocolate that size and figure she’s in heaven 🙂

  • JodiEchakowitz

    @ginidietrich A bit off topic here, but you would love the Nugo salty pretzel and dark chocolate protein bar 🙂

  • glenn_ferrell

    Gini, thanks for reminding me about the cub scouts. After I saw this I was wracking my brain for where I could buy some 🙂

    Seriously though, as horrifyingly socially irresponsible as a 12,000 lb bar of chocolate is, it WILL work — human psychology has not changed since the 1980s (just fashion, thank God). Besides, this could become a hit. Just imagine the size of the vending machines — more ammunition for your defense of sharks. This will definitely be “the vending machine that kills people.” 🙂

  • glenn_ferrell

    Gini, thanks for reminding me about the cub scouts. After I saw this I was wracking my brain for where I could buy some 🙂

    Seriously though, as horrifyingly socially irresponsible as a 12,000 lb bar of chocolate is, it WILL work — human psychology has not changed since the 1980s (just fashion, thank God). Besides, this could become a hit. Just imagine the size of the vending machines — more ammunition for your defense of sharks. This will definitely be “the vending machine that kills people.” 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @JodiEchakowitz OMG! I have to try that. That. Sounds. Divine.

  • ginidietrich

    @JodiEchakowitz OMG! I have to try that. That. Sounds. Divine.

  • ginidietrich

    @glenn_ferrell LMAO! You just made me snort. Out loud.

  • FocusedWords

    1.) I had never heard of World’s Finest Chocolate until this post. Problem is I immediately thought it was a tag line for someone like Godiva. But if they aren’t selling retail, why the stunt?

    2.) It doesn’t even look like a chocolate bar to me. Part of the pleasure of a nice dark chocolate bar is peeling back the gold foil. Instead of the blanket wouldn’t it have been way cooler to have it wrapped in gold foil that would be torn off?

    3.) The whole Guinness thing for me is old hat. Now to get listed you have to do something huge or something stupid. The good point for these guys is that they have done both.

    4.) What a waste of time and money.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords 1) I have NO idea! I’m trying to figure out if there is a bigger retail strategy to it, but so far, my research is coming up blank.

    2) Good point! Maybe it’s because it’s too laborious to do that for every tour stop?

    3) I agree. It’s kind of surprising they can still get news coverage for it. Granted, it was 6 a.m. But still.

    4) LOL!! Seriously.

  • FocusedWords

    @ginidietrich I forgot to add on #4 “and brain power.” but then that gives the marketing department too much credit for original thinking doesn’t it?

  • glenn_ferrell

    @FocusedWords Instead of Godiva, think “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman”. Think of a PR campaign that makes fun of itself. Serious newscaster: “World’s Finest Chocolate created a 12,000 lb bar of chocolate as a PR stunt, but suddenly in a small town near White Sands, where the first nuclear tests took place …” Then just run footage from the 1950s movie of the 50ft woman tearing roofs off of stores…

  • World’s Finest Chocolate should be fined for claiming that title…

    Having dealt with the kids who sell this and my own son who begs to sell it when it comes through our school PTO each year (and they do sell it), I know about WFC and do not think it is so.

    What I see here is the desire to assuage the parents (like me) who are sick of seeing our kids sell junk food (frozen pizzas one year, doughnuts, candy and WFC all included) for the school PTO. By saying they’ll talk about portion control and health benefits, the folks at WFC think we’ll say “Oh, ok, use my kid to increase your bottom line. I’m sure they’ll hear that health message.” Meanwhile, let’s pimp out your kids to earn a buck. Kids will sell it to get some crappy prize that breaks shortly after they bring it home or to win a pizza or ice cream party if their class sells the most (which inevitably means their mom or dad took it to work and guilted their colleagues into buying crap chocolate). Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

  • An imaginary but very real conversation that my daughter and I would have if this chocolate bar came to her school.

    My daughter, 10 years old: “OMG! MOM! You should have seen this HUGE chocolate bar they had in the playground today! It was melting and I wanted some!”

    Me: “Why was it there? Did you guys win some contest?”

    Daughter: “No, they were setting a world record.”

    Me: “Who was and why?”

    Daughter: “I don’t know but it was HUGE!”

    Me: “So did they give you some?”

    Daughter: “No, but they told us to eat better. But, mom, isn’t chocolate candy? And it is sorta bad for you if you eat too much?”

    Me: “Yes.”

    Daughter: “Then why did they say to eat healthy but brought a HUGE bar?”

    Me: “It’s called advertising, sweetie. They are trying to sell something to you or your school.”

    Daughter: “Oh. Can we go get ice cream?”

    I have the kid and I know they are doing this wrong.

    ~Allie

  • PattiRoseKnight

    I have been forced – as a mother of 3 boys who were in scouts – to sell this chocolate and to use kids to gain profits just makes my blood boil. Did they not hear about Mrs. Obama’s inititive to combat childhood obesity? I’ll stop now.

  • Neicolec

    Funny. I just heard a news report about this and had the same thought. The report explained about the huge chocolate bar and mentioned that the company did it to talk about healthy eating. And I just thought, that doesn’t make any sense. Yes, it did get my attention. But not necessarily in a good way. And, I don’t remember the company’s name even after hearing that report and just reading your post…

  • There are 2 options here –

    either they are being clever (and sneaky and assuming that their customers won’t listen to the ‘healthy eating’ message but instead go home dreaming of large chocolate bars) – so that they are using this PR to drive sales (because as you say – what’s the point in PR if it is not driving your business forward).

    or – they think that this will work – and will only find out it didn’t when they compare the costs of the exercise to the impact on the bottom line.

    Either way the owners/shareholders need to have a quiet word (maybe even a loud word) in the ear of the management – because if they are being clever – they are still being sneaky – and increasingly I think people just want honesty!!!

    PS – can’t wait to find out if the record was actually shatterered (don’t know what that is – but it must be awesome)

    PPS – great blog style – fun to read

    PPPS – In my own Chocolate Death match – Toblerone wins easy!!

  • There are 2 options here –

    either they are being clever (and sneaky and assuming that their customers won’t listen to the ‘healthy eating’ message but instead go home dreaming of large chocolate bars) – so that they are using this PR to drive sales (because as you say – what’s the point in PR if it is not driving your business forward).

    or – they think that this will work – and will only find out it didn’t when they compare the costs of the exercise to the impact on the bottom line.

    Either way the owners/shareholders need to have a quiet word (maybe even a loud word) in the ear of the management – because if they are being clever – they are still being sneaky – and increasingly I think people just want honesty!!!

    PS – can’t wait to find out if the record was actually shatterered (don’t know what that is – but it must be awesome)

    PPS – great blog style – fun to read

    PPPS – In my own Chocolate Death match – Toblerone wins easy!!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @NancyD68 thank you Nancy! I completely agree with you!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @NancyD68 thank you Nancy! I completely agree with you!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @NancyD68 thank you Nancy! I completely agree with you!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @NancyD68 thank you Nancy! I completely agree with you!

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords I’m trying to figure out if they hired an agency for this or did it all in-house. I’m PRAYING it’s all in-house.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords I’m trying to figure out if they hired an agency for this or did it all in-house. I’m PRAYING it’s all in-house.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords I’m trying to figure out if they hired an agency for this or did it all in-house. I’m PRAYING it’s all in-house.

  • ginidietrich

    @FocusedWords I’m trying to figure out if they hired an agency for this or did it all in-house. I’m PRAYING it’s all in-house.

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison I do not think it is so, either. The bars with the nuts and raisins? Ew.

    OK. So let me ask you this. Take away your feelings of the chocolate and having to sell it to raise funds for the PTO.

    Let’s say the bar comes to your town. And it’s 12,000 pounds. And it’s on display for two weeks. Do you take your kids to see it? And, let’s say, while you’re there, they also have fun games and other stations that teach kids about portion control and eating smart. Do you feel differently?

    I’m asking because I don’t have kids and I want to understand if there is something good that can come of this.

  • ginidietrich

    @AllieRambles LOL! I love that conversation. And I love her…for wanting ice cream. My kind of kid.

  • ginidietrich

    @PattiRoseKnight (You forgot your press release joke – go ahead…I won’t spoil it)

  • ginidietrich

    @Neicolec The whole healthy eating and 12,000 pounds of chocolate smells like spin to me.

  • I’m kinda stuck on the 1,700 pounds of COCOA BUTTER and the 5,500 pounds of SUGAR and find it really hard to find the healthy eating message in all of those calories…but, maybe I’m missing something. It would be like me promoting Halloween so that I could teach kids about good oral hygiene. Big disconnect here.

  • ginidietrich

    @SocialMediaDDS Yet…I had a dentist in my neighborhood growing up who gave us toothbrushes in our Halloween bags. We avoided his house like the plague.

  • ginidietrich

    @Nic_Cartwright The record was shattered. Some Russian held it for 8,000 pounds. I also love Toblerone. And what are the little bits of chocolate-y goodness they sell at the registers at Barnes & Noble? Those also are delicious.

  • @SocialMediaDDS That is funny. Great analogy.

    Our orthodontist pays the kids per pound for their candy and then sends to soldiers overseas. I applaud him for that. Sorry off subject, I just like ortho.

  • So, there ultimate audience is kids and to attract their attention they made a big chocolate bar? I could see this working if they had made iphone controlled chocolate action figures. But a big slab of a brown wall to promote eating well is really odd. It’ll be interesting to read how this works out for them.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @ginidietrich I said “World’s Finest Chocolate must have missed the press release that said these PR stunts went away in the 80s” I still think the huge chocolate bar looks disgusting. I’ve taken my own poll and those who think it is a good idea don’t have children. When they do I would imagine they might feel differently about a chocolate company using the word “healthy” to make profits.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @ginidietrich I said “World’s Finest Chocolate must have missed the press release that said these PR stunts went away in the 80s” I still think the huge chocolate bar looks disgusting. I’ve taken my own poll and those who think it is a good idea don’t have children. When they do I would imagine they might feel differently about a chocolate company using the word “healthy” to make profits.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @ginidietrich I said “World’s Finest Chocolate must have missed the press release that said these PR stunts went away in the 80s” I still think the huge chocolate bar looks disgusting. I’ve taken my own poll and those who think it is a good idea don’t have children. When they do I would imagine they might feel differently about a chocolate company using the word “healthy” to make profits.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @AllieRambles It’s may be advertising but it is also spin and we all know “Spin Sucks”

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @EricaAllison I couldn’t agree more Erica.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @EricaAllison Oh and I can’t tell you how many people I had to guilt into buying WFC – you are right parents are the ones who get stuck selling for their kids.

  • ginidietrich

    @Collectual iPhone controlled chocolate action figures. LOL! So the debate we had internally last night was that Hershey’s does stuff like this and it works really, really well. They get the attention of kids with a stunt like this and then provide really useful information to teach them. I think that’s great! But Hershey’s sells at retail. So they are creating pester power with the kids so when they’re in the grocery store aisle, parents are bugged and bugged to buy the candy/chocolate. The problem with this company is they don’t sell at retail.

  • ginidietrich

    @Collectual iPhone controlled chocolate action figures. LOL! So the debate we had internally last night was that Hershey’s does stuff like this and it works really, really well. They get the attention of kids with a stunt like this and then provide really useful information to teach them. I think that’s great! But Hershey’s sells at retail. So they are creating pester power with the kids so when they’re in the grocery store aisle, parents are bugged and bugged to buy the candy/chocolate. The problem with this company is they don’t sell at retail.

  • ginidietrich

    @AllieRambles@SocialMediaDDS I would never sell my candy.

  • ginidietrich

    @AllieRambles@SocialMediaDDS I would never sell my candy.

  • ginidietrich

    @PattiRoseKnight HAHAHAHAH!! I think that statement is hilarious!

  • FocusedWords

    @glenn_ferrell LOVE IT!!! It sure would have been a lot more memorable.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @NancyD68@JodiEchakowitz@ginidietrich@Ameena Falchetto Nancy you have a smart child because it is dumb IMO

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @ginidietrich@JayDolan Not me.

  • MolliMegasko

    I don’t think this is the best idea but I also don’t hate it. For me, it worked. I read their materials and now I not only know more about portion control, I also know the brand, which I did not before. In PR, we call that brand awareness.

    Yes, it’s very 1980’s but the audience is clearly kids, and as a once-upon-a-time child, I would have loved to go see this. It’s hard to get kids to listen and scare tactics don’t work (hence why they stopped those pot commercials with the kid accidently shooting his friend because he was high). They are speaking their language (candy) and tossing in educational value.

    As for the media attention, this is making the news because it is breaking a record and might interest parents enough to find out where the tour is going to give their kids something to do. I could see this making its way across elementary schools. And with kids now-a-days having smart phones, imagine the TweetPics.

    As the world’s finest chocolate creating the world’s largest candy bar, I would like to see where they go with this.

  • ginidietrich

    @MolliMegasko I don’t disagree with any of this. What I don’t like about it is they don’t sell to kids. They sell to PTOs and organizations like the Cub Scouts. So, while it’s benevolent to try to teach kids about portion control in a fun way, I’m willing to bet $1,000 it does nothing to increase sales.

  • @AllieRambles I’ve heard of quite a few dentists that make that offer to their patients. I think that is awesome….it teaches kids two lessons (are you listening @ginidietrich ?) One that too much candy isn’t a healthy thing and two that it really feels good to give back….even candy, Gini 😉

  • @ginidietrich …and so…was part of your childhood spent on the NW side of Chicago because, that is exactly what my wonderful Dad (also a dentist) did every Halloween. We attributed the lack of “customers” to our door on Halloween as a result of us living on a busy street…never dawned on us that it was the toothbrush 😉 Ha! ….I was actually mortified by what we gave out but I adored my Dad so I sucked it up….

  • CristerDelaCruz

    Not the best idea, but as @MolliMegasko said, I also don’t hate it. The kid in me had the strongest reaction and just want to walk up to that thing and start gnawing like a squirrel. I mean, really… forget slicing off a piece, I want teeth to chocolate! It’s a publicity stunt and I don’t think it’s much more than that… but hey, ok Mr. We’ll-talk-to-them-about-portion-control, if you think they’ll listen.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    It says: For FTP download information, please contact Wayne Edwards at wayne@billhudsonagency.com or 615-516-0814. It’s an agency in Tennessee.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @MolliMegasko The audience is not kids Molli – it is not sold retail. If you have boy children as a parent you are required to sell as their fundraiser. I think the scouts should dump WFC and go with Trail’s End – at least there is some truth in Trial’s End being “healthy”.

  • glenn_ferrell

    @FocusedWords@ginidietrich I know I’m getting way oFf track here (considering the seriousness of this event) but my wife just came up with another one: 1950s Sci fi movie “Them”, with a dozen giant ants carrying this 6 ton bar down into their hole 🙂

    When they run these ads, we better get some credit ! (Especially the giant vending machine with the Jaws music.)

  • World’s Finest Chocolate? Why do I get the feeling that it’s a lot like the World’s Best Cup of Coffee in Elf.

    And if I were the head of the Bacon Marketing Board, I’d fire my marketing director for not thinking of this first!

  • World’s Finest Chocolate? Why do I get the feeling that it’s a lot like the World’s Best Cup of Coffee in Elf.

    And if I were the head of the Bacon Marketing Board, I’d fire my marketing director for not thinking of this first!

  • @ginidietrich I believe those are Godiva, and they truly are a little slice of heaven.

  • Shelley Pringle

    I don’t have a problem with a chocolate bar company promoting healthier eating. But instead of creating the worlds’ biggest chocolate bar, they should have made the world’s smallest chocolate bar. I’m kidding (sort of) but the message would have been consistent with the stunt. A few years ago Kinder Surprise included messages about portion control as part of a larger program on encouraging kids to play (see http://www.haveyouplayedtoday.ca). As I recall, the website was linked to the launch of a new format, a smaller chocolate surprise that was about the same size as the perfect treat for kids (based on dietitians and other experts recommendations).

  • glenn_ferrell

    @ginidietrich Glad you liked it. There’s a whole Claes Oldenburg angle here too… just needs a little thought 🙂

  • Kinda reminds me of a Taco Johns/Pepsi promo I saw where you were supposed to text the word PEPSI to some number for a free combo upgrade and “healthy living tips.” I posted a photo of it to Twitpic with the caption: “Healthy living tips: 1. Don’t upgrade your combo meal. 2. Eat less Taco Johns. 3. Drink less Pepsi.”

  • Okay so first, this sentence alone make me want to turn your blog into my religion: “we have to stop doing things that grab media attention, but don’t make sense for the brand nor drive sales.”Second – OMG you are so 100% correct about this. WHY?????????Why. Why? !I can’t even…. I can’t.

  • Tell me they gave you a prize for winning Twitter, cuz that’s hilarious. @CarlThress

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @Shelley Pringle That would be a much more appropriate idea and it wouldn’t cost a fortune to take it across the country – a country in a financial crisis by the way.

  • I’ll take “things that would have made a lot more sense” for $100, Alex. @Shelley Pringle – I would totally get “World’s smallest chocolate bar”. Or even a story about why they were making smaller bars for the next time the school sold their chocolates.

  • Hmmm….good question. I typically don’t take my kids to stuff like that and purposely avoid opportunities to find out about it. I’m such a mean mom! They’re still young enough to not find out or if they did, fall under the guidelines of “because I said so.”

    WFC is more likely to have contact with them via school or in @PattiRoseKnight ‘s case, via Scouts (btw, Patti, scouts here sell the trail mix stuff – much better). However, let’s say for the sake of discussion and giggles, your scenario happened. I would let them go or take them if they showed an interest and let them eat chocolate.We’d then go on a major hike or go play at a park to burn off some sugar energy and calories! 🙂

    The whole nutrition talk is completely out of place. Let’s don’t confuse the kids and really, they won’t hear it! I view it this way: I am responsible for educating my kids about health and nutrition and seek out opportunities to do that. I also teach them how to enjoy good chocolate (not that stuff) and to do it as part of a balanced diet. The message in a Guiness road show approach would quite simply, fall flat and be lost. Go for the chocolate angle and how fun that is; ditch the nutrition stuff. Bad messaging all the way around.

    @ginidietrich

  • @Tinu Thanks. I don’t think they would have appreciated the humor quite as much. Though some free potato oles might have been nice. In case anyone’s curious, here’s the Twitpic I posted: http://twitpic.com/4zqu0n

  • RAntonette

    First, just to ask the obvious question, are the news anchors talking in slow motion because the video is sped up? The L.A. morning anchors talk MUCH faster!

    Anyway, the visual (and stunt) and message are so incongruent, it makes no sense. Someone decided that idea one + idea two worked hand in hand, but they simply don’t.

    Also, the concept strikes me that WFC is about to give me a smaller buy for the price … portion control!

  • RAntonette

    First, just to ask the obvious question, are the news anchors talking in slow motion because the video is sped up? The L.A. morning anchors talk MUCH faster!

    Anyway, the visual (and stunt) and message are so incongruent, it makes no sense. Someone decided that idea one + idea two worked hand in hand, but they simply don’t.

    Also, the concept strikes me that WFC is about to give me a smaller buy for the price … portion control!

  • @CarlThress@ginidietrich Where do you stand on the real global burning issue … Cadbury (homely British chocloate – admittedly now swallowed up by mega brand) vs Hershey (mega brand)……

  • CharPennyAnn

    Oh geeze! Totally with you on this one Gini. Why, Why, Why? I don’t get the slogan “Think Big, Eat Smart” If I’m thinking about eating smart then “big” is not in my vocabulary. I better stop here.

  • @ginidietrich Oh but the twist is the artifically made it look like demand wiped out stores, oh I know this is a rumor but they may have brought the whole target.com down to get the media impressions the demand was so great took site down. Really? CyberMonday and BlackFriday haven’t even done that and it involves much more consumers….

    And it is not different if the real demand is there.

  • John_Trader1

    Land sakes alive, I go away for three days unplugged and come back with a post about the brand of chocolate that I used to sell door to door as a wee lad to raise money for my school.

    There is nothing that I can say here in my comment section that hasn’t already been touched on other that what do you think Michelle Obama’s reaction to this was if she saw it? As a staunch advocate to battle childhood obesity (this is an absent minded campaign btw — it’s the equivalent of big tobacco telling you to stop smoking) wouldn’t it have been a smarter PR campaign to involve her “Let’s Move!” campaign (http://www.letsmove.gov/) with this and somehow portrayed it in a better light? Let the world know that we are The World’s Finest Chocolate and even though we sell food that kids shouldn’t be eating in volume, we support Mrs. Obama’s campaign and we hope you do too. Simple, no gimmicks, no stunts. Perhaps this would have garnered more positive attention for their brand.

  • HowieSPM

    Chocolate is chock full of anti-oxidants and it gives kind of a euphoria one gets from prozac. Plus it help you work on your chewing skills. And has just enough caffeine to juice up your day. And wait that is not all! The lovely brown color helps kids learn their colors. Is it Sepia? Burnt Umber? Who knows. Oh and btw THAT’S NOT ALL! We also give everyone who gets a piece a free carton of Pall Mall Unfiltereds!

    I must say streaming video still sucks after all these years. Or maybe it’s the high speed cable? You would think after all these years video would be seamless.

    Anyway stupid dumb ridiculous. If they wanted to do this, do it for charity. Give it to the homeless.

  • ginidietrich

    @SocialMediaDDS LOL! That makes me laugh. Really hard.

  • ginidietrich

    @SocialMediaDDS@AllieRambles Don’t think you’re getting my Butterfingers!

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz The visual of you gnawing on that candy bar makes me LOL every time.

  • ginidietrich

    @CristerDelaCruz The visual of you gnawing on that candy bar makes me LOL every time.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller The world’s biggest bacon?

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller The world’s biggest bacon?

  • @ginidietrich that would rock

  • ginidietrich

    @Shelley Pringle See! Now THAT is a good idea!

  • ginidietrich

    @CarlThress That. Is. Awesome! LOL!!

  • ginidietrich

    @Tinu It makes me nuts, Tinu. On one hand, I get reprimanded in a PR LinkedIn group because I keep talking about proving our worth and demonstrating value and on the other hand, PR stunts like this still exist. It’s a big vision to want to change the industry, but let’s just keep forging forward.

    P.S. Keep happy hour on Nov.8 open.

  • ginidietrich

    @RAntonette I think they were still asleep because it was 6 a.m.!

    It’s odd, isn’t it? I’m glad you think so, too.

  • ginidietrich

    @CharPennyAnn But crepes with peach jam. Yummmm.

  • ginidietrich

    @John_Trader1 “Lands sakes alive”??? Did you turn into my grandmother while you were gone??

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM You are nuts. #thatisall

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM You are nuts. #thatisall

  • @ginidietrich@Tinu i wonder if we’ll ever put that “there’s no such thing as bad PR” to rest. and “any press is good press”. I still hear people saying that. it. just. isn’t. true.

  • @ginidietrich@Tinu i wonder if we’ll ever put that “there’s no such thing as bad PR” to rest. and “any press is good press”. I still hear people saying that. it. just. isn’t. true.

  • John_Trader1

    Spend a few days in the mountains with the kin folk and you start adapting their vernacular. I may need therapy.

  • @KenMuellertinuginidietrich There’s no such thing as bad PR is what people who do bad PR say. That simple.

  • @ginidietrichshellypringle@Tinu See the problem is you all are making suggestions that involve creative thinking, research, insights and strategy. These people just want to set a world record. Wonder how much money they give you at the bank when you cash a world record. What’s that? None? Oh.

  • @JGoldsboroughtinuginidietrich agreed. that’s because Good PR is hard to do while bad PR is easy. It’s kind of like comedy. I think too many comedians rely on foul language to be funny. It’s easy. But how many really funny “clean” comedians do you hear? Very few, because it’s hard. They actually have to be funny and not rely on cussing, etc. for laughs.

  • @MolliMegasko The other problem with this stunt is the effect of it will be about as short-term as a brand could possibly get. They spend all that money on one event. One stunt. One news story. That is not how I would choose to invest my money. But then again, I never would have approved a ridiculous plan like this with no strategy.

  • @ginidietrichpattiroseknight I really wish PR stunts went away in the 1980s. But I don’t think that’s true at all. They are still hanging around and this is an example. And that is kind of scary.

  • @JayDolan Such a solid point. We all may want chocolate, but no allegiance to a brand of chocolate. It doesn’t make us want their chocolate at all. And now they spent the money, the stunt is over and no one will ever talk about this Guinness World Record again until someone breaks it. And then no one will ever talk about it again period. Good investment.

  • @JayDolan Such a solid point. We all may want chocolate, but no allegiance to a brand of chocolate. It doesn’t make us want their chocolate at all. And now they spent the money, the stunt is over and no one will ever talk about this Guinness World Record again until someone breaks it. And then no one will ever talk about it again period. Good investment.

  • My favorite part of the video is the end. Because at that point the CMO has unveiled his world-record bar. He smiled for the camera. And then the story is over. The camera is off. And I imagined to myself that his next meeting after filming that clip might be with the CEO. He shows him the bar. The CEO says “Wow!” He talks to him about the months of employees’ time it took to make the bar and the CEO says “Wow!.”He tells him the bar was just unveiled on live TV and the CEO says “Wow!”

    Then the CEO asks the CMO one simple question: “So has this campaign gone well?” And you know what the CMO says? Nothing. Because he never thought about strategy. Never considered setting objectives. Never thought about — perish the thought — driving sales. Never thought about laying the groundwork for developing sustainable brand affinity.

    Campaigns like this might get peoples’ attention. But they’re not the kind of attention getting we as communicators want to be doing. If you think a stunt like this makes any executive take PR and marketing seriously or helps them see us as worthwhile strategic counselors, please pass me what you’re smoking. And then maybe I’ll eat some chocolate.

  • If any PR person seriously believes there is “no such thing as bad PR,” then we need to boot them out of this industry. That is all. 🙂

  • RAntonette

    Indeed I’d forgotten how “proud” the CMO was of all his employees’ hard work for this. That was pretty funny as a lead message point.

  • RAntonette

    Indeed I’d forgotten how “proud” the CMO was of all his employees’ hard work for this. That was pretty funny as a lead message point.

  • EdieGalley

    Here is a great idea how about making the worlds biggest cigarette to “get kids attention” and then teach them about the healthy habits of not smoking.

    I mean come on, isn’t it ok because we are just doing it to get their attention?

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @HowieSPMcouldn’t agree with you more!

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @John_Trader1 you are right this sure would have been a much better idea.

  • coffeewithjulie

    Hope you don’t mind that I referenced and linked to this post on my blog. I think it’s bang-on. (here is the link: http://www.julieharrison.ca/living/breaking-up-is-never-easy-bye-bye-canadian-business-magazine)

  • EdieGalley

    Here is an idea, how about we make the world’s largest cigarette and then once we have kids attention teach them about healthy habits like not smoking. After all, you it is just to get their attention right?

    This company is well known and does some good work, they missed a BIG opportunity to use that.

  • John_Trader1

    @PattiRoseKnight Regardless of your party affiliation, why wouldn’t a company want to hitch their wagon to a campaign like Michelle Obama’s? Seems like it would have a smarter way to associate your brand with good will and raise sentiment.

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @John_Trader1 It really seems like a no brainer to me but what do I know?

  • Anthony_Rodriguez

    I just saw this story about a condom company sending the NFL quarterback who gets sacked the most each week some ‘extra protection.’ But does this fall into the same category of World’s Finest Chocolate? http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/2011/09/13/tarvaris-jackson-gets-some-extra-protection-from-a-condom-company/

  • 1980s PR Method: Big chocolate bar awes audiences and makes them aware of [chocolate brand].

    2010s PR Method: [Chocolate brand] triggers a viral chocolate fanatic revolution, and perhaps even establishes a new cultural meme. As Bob Dylan would say, the times have a’changed.

    And why put on a mask of healthiness when people are fanatic about chocolate already? Go with the flow! Never understood the desire to try and spin this kind of stuff.

  • 1980s PR Method: Big chocolate bar awes audiences and makes them aware of [chocolate brand].

    2011 PR Method: [Chocolate brand] triggers a viral chocolate fanatic revolution, and perhaps even establishes a new cultural meme. As Bob Dylan would say, the times have a’changed.

    And why put on a mask of healthiness when people are fanatic about chocolate already? Go with the flow! Never understood the desire to try and spin this kind of stuff.

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  • Thanks for being the voice of reason on this. Sure, you’re talking about it, but as you say, “Show me the money”! Unless you’re in school, or have a kid in school, WFC isn’t a part of your world. It’s not in stores so the average consumer can’t even buy it if they wanted to!

  • Dunn4

    Okay, I’ll be the contrarian here. Let’s assume for a minute that this marketing professional is not a fool. His company sells candy bars through kids trying to raise funds for their schools. Kids are their sales force. Successful sales organizations consistently rev up their sales force through events and incentives that result in immediate, measurable sales bumps. He explained that they are touring this World Record candy bar, and interactive experience to kids all over the country. It may be an old idea, but big stuff and World Records still get kids excited… They aren’t as jaded as adults yet. They are going to give their sales force an exciting brand experience, something to talk about and an education on how their product isn’t so bad in moderation…. Now go sell!

    In terms of the news piece, it could be more elegant, but the message got to parents that a local business called “World’s Finest Chocolate” is getting recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and is trying to teach kids about healthy eating. Most adults know that chocolate can be healthy in moderation… I don’t see how that is spin. Maybe those parents won’t even mind selling some of that chocolate around the office to help their child’s school fundraiser.

  • glenn_ferrell

    @Anthony_Rodriguez Ha ! I don’t think it’s in the same category. This is clearly humor. Calling candy “healthy” is obviously (judging by the comments to this post) not humor. (However, I can imagine half a dozen really funny advertising sketches coming out of this NFL/condom idea though… maybe YouTube is the place for those)

  • PattiRoseKnight

    @Dunn4 I have to say as a parent I have never been “asked” to sell the candy – it has always been mandatory and now that my kids are older I am grateful that I don’t need to push WFC on friends and guilt them into buying it. And most times we would get stuck buying what we couldn’t sell. As you can tell I’m not a big fan of WFC – I feel like was forced into selling and no one likes to be forced to do anything. That’s my two cents on WFC. The good news – since seeing the large chocolate bar i haven’t had a desire for choclate and that is definately a good thing.

  • Dunn4

    @PattiRoseKnight Well, I agree that no one likes to be guilted into doing things. I remember selling candy bars as a kid and not being very excited about it. I can’t speak to WFC’s business practices … I’m not associated with them. I was just looking at the possible strategy and success metrics WFC might of had for this campaign. From your comment it sounds like they have some other perception problems to address.

  • Dunn4

    @PattiRoseKnight Well, I agree that no one likes to be guilted into doing things. I remember selling candy bars as a kid and not being very excited about it. I can’t speak to WFC’s business practices … I’m not associated with them. I was just looking at the possible strategy and success metrics WFC might of had for this campaign. From your comment it sounds like they have some other perception problems to address.

  • Dunn4

    @PattiRoseKnight Well, I agree that no one likes to be guilted into doing things. I remember selling candy bars as a kid and not being very excited about it. I can’t speak to WFC’s business practices … I’m not associated with them. I was just looking at the possible strategy and success metrics WFC might of had for this campaign. From your comment it sounds like they have some other perception problems to address.

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  • I will keep the whole DAY open. Just the thought is making my day. 🙂 @ginidietrich And it’s probably not every enlightened, but when peers say that type of thing to me, I say “oh, well. More for me!” Eventually logic will prevail – you’re right, keep doing your thing.

  • LOL! @JGoldsborough @ginidietrich shellypringle

  • LOL! @JGoldsborough @ginidietrich shellypringle

  • Anthony_Rodriguez

    @glenn_ferrell I thought so too. But I put it out there anyway. I would love to see the look on the bruised and battered quarterback that gets a box of condoms in the mail on Monday.

  • Just had to share this. It’s a Hot Wheels stunt at the Indy 500 called Fearless at the 500. I didn’t watch the video, but I did check out the slides to get the top-line on it. There are great results (12,000 Facebook fans 5 minutes after the ABC show aired!). Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/oBVyV. Now that is a great example of a stunt done right (of course, they must have spent a gazillion dollars on it).

  • Just had to share this. It’s a Hot Wheels stunt at the Indy 500 called Fearless at the 500. I didn’t watch the video, but I did check out the slides to get the top-line on it. There are great results (12,000 Facebook fans 5 minutes after the ABC show aired!). Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/oBVyV. Now that is a great example of a stunt done right (of course, they must have spent a gazillion dollars on it).

  • Just had to share this. It’s a Hot Wheels stunt at the Indy 500 called Fearless at the 500. I didn’t watch the video, but I did check out the slides to get the top-line on it. There are great results (12,000 Facebook fans 5 minutes after the ABC show aired!). Here’s the link: http://goo.gl/oBVyV. Now that is a great example of a stunt done right (of course, they must have spent a gazillion dollars on it).

  • ArthurAnswers

    I have to say, I’m actually hungering for chocolate now… Haha, joking aside, I think that targeting is very important. But often I find that it’s beneficial not to get tunnel vision. Somtimes it helps to think outside of the “target community”. For example, if you’re marketing towards influencers who bring about awareness of iPad cases (people at gizmodo, engadget or tech crunch, etc), you might not necessarily connect to fashion conscious buyers. You’d have to look in the fashionista bloggers, analyze the community for those who also happen to be geeks and mention fashionable iPad cases and reach out to them as well.The idea is that you aren’t focusing on a specific community, but on the tribes (from any community) that are relevant for you. It’s sometimes difficult to find them, but they exist and there are tools to help you find them.

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  • nebpr1

    Watch this to see what the campaign is delivering to schools. They did it here in Omaha yesterday. Big hit with the kids, the school, and 3 TV crews showed up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjA0Z-D52M8&feature=player_embedded

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  • ginidietrich

    @nebpr1 I’ve been on the road and just saw this comment. Thank you for stopping by! I think the coverage is fantastic, but my point was not that it wouldn’t get coverage. I absolutely believe the media, and kids, are interested in this. What I don’t understand is how this coverage will lead to sales for WFC, which should be the basis for everything we do in our profession.

    I like to tell the story of working with Ocean Spray. We killed it, in terms of media coverage for them in 1999. They were EVERYWHERE, including all the morning shows, the dailies in the target markets, and more. But when we sat down to do a final recap of our success, they dropped a bomb…their sales were down and they were cutting our budget significantly. Since then, I’ve been on a quest to measure everything we do to the client’s business goals.

    If this coverage increases their sales, I’m going to be really, really impressed.

  • ginidietrich

    @JGoldsborough Oh it’s #pr20chat time!

  • JGoldsborough

    @ginidietrich That it is, my friend. That it is :). #pr20chat

  • ZLDoty

    @melissary @jgoldsborough @ginidietrich Carlsberg biker cinema stunt from @creativitymag is a good example! #pr20chat http://t.co/t7qSmmtq

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