Published on: June 16, 2010by Kate McMahon
If the folks at Nabisco were expecting their free cookies and milk promotion on Facebook to be a slam dunk, they got a taste of social networking reality instead.
The one-day coupon was available on June 7th on Nabisco’s Facebook page, which boasts an impressive 414,000 fans. The promotion garnered favorable publicity in the mainstream press as well, being cited as another example of corporations connecting with the consumer through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Basel Magleris, a Nabisco corporate affairs honcho, was quoted as saying: “What’s special about the Facebook page is that it’s full of people who’ve raised their hand to say they love Nabisco cookies. It gives us a way to talk to them directly about our products.”
All of which is true. But the lesson here for Nabisco - and for other retailers, manufacturers and service providers - is that it’s more important to listen.
There were, of course, happy customers who redeemed the coupon and chimed in with accolades for their favorite Nabisco brand – “Fig Newtons are my FAVE!!!” and “OREOS, all the way baby!”
But there were more customers (40 of the first 50 wall posts) venting their frustrations about the promotion - coupons that failed to print, stores that refused the coupon, and Nabisco’s failure to respond to their concerns. Oh, yes, the fact that it wasn’t really free, since a consumer was required to purchase one gallon of milk, another milk of any size and one package of Nabisco cookies in order to get another package of cookies for free. (The previous month’s offer only required one gallon of milk.)
Some sample comments:
• “Walmart in Shreveport, La. will not take coupons printed on the computer! Went there bought the milk and embarrassed myself at the checkout counter while they asked their manager.”
• ”THIS IS SILLY! TOO MANY PEOPLE ALL SAYING WE COULDN'T PRINT THE COUPON!”
• ”Does anyone know if the coupons are only redeemable in certain sections of the country? We've tried every store in 3 counties w/refusals from all. What's the deal?”
• “Here in Florida I would have to spend $8.55 in products to get a ‘free’ Nabisco cookie, which is on sale for $2.98. NO THANKS.”
And when Nabisco posted a reminder about coupon expirations, this response was typical:
• ”Thanks, Nabisco, for reminding me that the stores in my area won't accept your internet coupons. Makes me feel just great. BTW have you done anything about this yet??? Is anyone from your company reading this??? Does anyone from Nabisco care???”
Clearly, there are consumers frustrated at their computers and at the checkout counter, and retailers also feeling their frustration.
I’m completely baffled that a company such as Nabisco has failed to respond to these consumers, who joined the page to say they loved the product. My efforts to get a comment from Nabisco have been met a similar fate – no response.
And since Nabisco is planning to run a similar coupon on the Monday, July 5th, I certainly hope its social networking team will take the time to listen, and make the necessary changes. Or the only taste the participating consumers will remember will be that of sour milk.
Comments? Send me an email at email@example.com .
- KC's View: