Mon Aug, 2011 by Derek Mehraban
The problem Coke faced this morning might not be pertinent to the digital agency and small firms recently embarked on social media. This morning the Coca-Cola Facebook page issued a “Happy Student Day!” greeting in Portuguese. Student Day is a well-known holiday in Portugal. The commentary have since been removed, but only after hours and several angry comments from Americans that seem to be confused about the international nature of social media. The comments won’t be reposted on here, but they are easy to find if so inclined. Some of them are quite impressive for their colorful language and xenophobia.
The lesson for the digital agency is a sobering one. While social media crosses borders — the lesson of the Arab Spring – people, especially when dealing with their favorite brands, seem to forget this. Facebook’s unique American story may also make the vitriol there outpace the xenophobia on other networks. The digital agency needs to be very careful not to seem cosmopolitan in how it handles it’s marketing. A sense of loyalty to the US is important and should be maintained with only the slightest and obviously pertinent deviation.