in Branding

Spaghetti-Os and Knowing Your Place

This tweet arrived on a Saturday by the folks at Spaghetti-Os. This tweet has been deleted, because of Twitter outrage over the perceived insensitivity of using a mock pasta O to commemorate a solemn moment. Probably because our fake pasta friend has a smile on its face. That’s not Mister Pasta’s fault though.

Here’s the deal with all of the mock outrage, I get it on a level. But why I get it probably isn’t for the reasons people are howling. The real issue as I see it, is about knowing your place in the landscape. Tweeting for a brand is difficult.

On the flip side, deleting the tweet is a cowardly act that people need to stop. Look, it’s in the public record. Sure, you might be tired of people replying to it. But there’s something to be said for communicating and sticking to your message sometimes. The internet mob isn’t always right.

There’s this belief that the internet mob has to always be right. But it’s a pack mentality. Someone howls and finds a problem, others follow in an effort to be part of a trend and before you know it, there are legions of folks singing the same refrain. How many people who were complaining actually eat SpaghettiOs at all? Maybe they did as kids, understand that sometimes you just have to drown out the noise and carry on.

You’re not going to please everyone, whether in social media or life. So stop trying.

I originally wanted to write this post about the fact that brands can’t be everything to everyone. I’m not sure that I’d have ever thought to use a brand like this to post about something like Pearl Harbor Day. It’s just not something you’d ever expect from your canned pasta maker brand. To be fair, you want to generate interest and I can imagine someone working behind the scenes there who was hoping to get Retweets and Favorites to show their higher ups how they’re connecting and instead; you’ll have social media “ninjas” posting that whoever did it ought to be fired.

If only all of our work foibles were so visible that strangers would think to comment based on one action how good (or not good) you must be at your job.

Understanding your audience is a golden rule and having a strategy prevents throwing darts at a wall in the hopes of something sticking. Birds and certain insects communicate with each other on frequencies we can’t understand. Brands aren’t birds. Humans hear what you’re putting out there, making what you say more important.