Less than a week after Gawker successfully caused Coke to pull its #MakeItHappy campaign after tricking a bot to tweet lines from Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the pop culture and media blog has responded to the controversial stunt by simply saying it isn't sorry. Not only is Gawker not sorry, but the blog says it is "afraid and sad" about the social media marketing tactics of corporations as a whole.
In the 1,100-plus word piece, Gawker writer—and known provocateur—Sam Biddle defends the site's decision to hijack the soft drink corporation's social campaign aimed at making the Internet a happier place, which was launched during the Super Bowl. Biddle asserts that brands acting like they are consumer's friends has created a "vast, awful landscape" known as 'Brand Twitter' where "the prevailing online marketing strategy for brands 2015 is to blend in with the children, become just another bae to fave and retweet."
Biddle goes on to lambaste the social media marketing tactics of corporations, saying the sole existence of it is to "distract, deceive, and manipulate us out of our money—and in the case of Coca Cola, freely dispense diabetes and obesity."
The post, which has garnered over 25,000 page views in under two hours, has received mixed responses from the Twittersphere. Some tweeters praise Gawker for purportedly calling out modern-day deceptions of advertising, while others—including a brand tweet from Barbasol shaving cream—urge Gawker to lighten up. Coke has not yet responded for a request to comment.
@Gawker I don't know what your Marketing teams has been telling you, but you, are, indeed, a brand too.— kisróka (@WithyWindlesFox) February 9, 2015
Gawker was widely criticized online last week for its decision to dupe the Coke bot to tweet lines from Nazi propaganda—though it cannot be ignored that the social media tactic of major corporations tweeting like teenagers has been headed for a backlash for some time. A few months ago, the Twitter account @BrandsSayingBae gathered a lot of attention for calling out big companies attempting to sound as hip as possible on social media. But as brands continue to leave a mark across social media channels— Snapchat's Discover being one recent example—the market will determine if the consumer really doesn't want to be spoken to like a friend.