So let me just preface saying that I do understand that smoking is unhealthy for you and that there are negative repercussions to yourself and to others around you.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get to it.
truth is an organization that is working hard to help curb rates of youth smoking, knowing that if they get people to not start, it will be easier to keep them smoke free. In the fall, I noticed ads that appeared in commercials on TV that were not only generally weird, but also anti-smoking through the organization. In these videos they were generally using (and misusing) different memes in order to I guess be able to connect better to their target demographic.
There has been a huge push in terms of companies trying to target younger consumers of media through not only the platforms that are used by them, but the memes that are popular and that people would know (which is consistently changing). However, I do not believe that these marketers really understand the use of memes and what makes them spread as they do, riding the hype train into obscurity over and over again. Because of this, I actually know of quite a few social media campaigns trying too hard to be reachable by their young target market. Denny’s is one of those social media campaigns that bordered on eccentric to be relevant to a younger crowd, creating jokes and comments, mainly with their blogging campaign. For the most part comments have been either negative, or confusion as it is obvious that an outside party is trying to join in on what could be considered an inside joke. Realistically these marketers are usually people on the outside looking in and how they perceive memes and their effectiveness really differs from what the reality could be.
However, I guess there is something to be said about the social media campaign that companies such as these are running. I am on this website talking about it after-all, and that on its own gives the companies some amount of traffic and thought. This can lead to people looking them up, and help generate either awareness of income depending on what the company prioritizes. Negative press is still press, and as the trend of teenage smoking has decreased, the drive to continue on this campaign to end teen smoking has only grown more momentum.
My personal opinion; I wonder why these companies are working on their social media strategy in this way. I can honestly say that people I have shown this to have more or less reacted negatively to the message, wanting to smoke to actually recover from the terribleness of the ad campaign, or in spite of the fact because of how it was delivered. Not only that, there is obviously money being poured into the making of these videos, the development of the message, and finally the actual money that is necessary to get airtime in order to show these commercials on television. I just think that there are better ways that they could have spent this money to more efficiently deliver the message that they are trying to impart.
In fact, there are a lot of good marketing and awareness building that does not have anecdotal evidence of being counterproductive in the truth campaign. I do understand wanting to be able to connect with the target market, but this really is not the way to do it. There are many other successful social media campaigning without ending up embarrassing yourself by trying to act “hip” without full understanding of how and why memes are popular.
This is obviously ignoring the old video campaign on the youtube channel that try to “bring awareness” of racist or homophobic comments made by tobacco companies which only really backfires as people are usually more upset by the fact that these are being brought up in the first place in order to push an agenda than what was said……….. Like their marketing at times needs a LOT of help.
In the end I’ll leave you with this.