Brands on social media are starting to feel a bit needy. They are clamoring for “Likes,” shares and the biggest fan count, and neediness isn’t a quality we appreciate in our dates or businesses. So when a brand does something so brazen as to require approval for a Like, as Grey Poupon did, heads turn.
When Grey Poupon started “screening” potential Facebook fans with a complex app to determine if they “cut the mustard”, you’ll be admitted into the Good Taste Society. And it left me wondering, will I make it? Am I refined enough?
So I “Liked” Grey Poupon, along with 40,000 other new fans since the September 2012 launch. The growth is another tribute to a deep desire to be one of the cool kids, to make it into the upper echelons of society (if you can call it that).
Since mustard, even Grey Poupon, is neither expensive nor rare, the Facebook campaign found a way to amplify an elite personality and have fun with it, using an artificial exclusivity to do it.
Of course, there is a difference between being playfully exclusive and being exclusionary – as demonstrated by the recent outrage over Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries’ comments (internet firestorm, falling sales).
Grey Poupon, though, does it playfully. To spread their upper-class personality, they’ve kept to an exaggerated, but light-hearted, schtick, even going as far as name-dropping Uncle Fitzroy and rehashing the ubiquitous “Excuse Me” ad. Unfortunately, talking about escargot and monocle fitting quickly becomes unrelatable to many an audience, which likely explains their current lackluster engagement.
While the campaign probably won’t last as long as the “Have you got any Grey Poupon?” jokes have, the extreme effort of turning away likes demonstrates that it’s not about how many times you ask for fans, but what you put out there. Cultivating a strong personality and flavor creates an environment that fans want to interact with is more powerful, and once you’ve got them there, keep content consistent and relevant.