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Pauly D Does NOT Approve This Message

By Hannah McDaniel

The current generation of consumers is unlike any other. Generation Y does not know how to handle positive reinforcement, and most of us respond best to negative criticism. We are fine with product placement — but do not tell us what to buy. It’s about time major corporations grasped this strategy as a way of communication.

Kraft Foods launched a Miracle Whip campaign Tuesday that embodies both sides. The advertisements embrace argumentation, blast their product, and then ask the consumer to judge for themselves.

The results have been overwhelmingly positive: lovers currently outweigh haters nine to one.

And to top it off, Gen-Y superstar Pauly D from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” makes several appearances throughout the campaign.

Kraft created a campaign using social media as a forum for its debate. On Miracle Whip’s YouTube page, consumers can share their testimonials of the product. Users can also request a free sample of the “not so mayo” sandwich spread.

On its Facebook page,  Miracle Whip asks lovers to share their love of the spread in exchange for a coupon.

But Kraft isn’t the first to use criticism as a means of advertisement.

Domino’s Pizza has been using this tactic for months now. Its campaign features photos of visually unsatisfying pizzas (sent in by consumers), focus groups that blast its former pizza recipe and commercials of hunted-down consumers trying its new pizza.

As a result, Domino’s Pizza stock continues to rise, growing from its lowest point in over a year from $10.29 (June 2010), to its highest point just a few days ago at $17.55.

Thus far, Miracle Whip’s social media campaign allows the company to gauge its consumers for next to nothing, cost-wise. Plus, the two-way communication created from the campaign allows its patrons to be heard.

Public relations practitioners should take note of the success of Kraft and Domino’s. We are trained to toot our own horn. Kraft and Domino’s, however, are letting their customers do it for them. This strategy creates a more credible brand, reinforcing their reputations for quality. Most importantly, their clients feel like they matter.

What other brands have used unconventional tactics as a way to increase sales?


  1. Post comment

    Taylor, thanks for the comment. I couldn’t believe it either. I am really impressed though.

    After writing this blog, I found out studies show organizations who embrace criticism online, and respond to it, are far more likely to have customers who either delete the original post or respond with a positive post.

  2. Post comment

    I agree! I think these companies have made a smart PR decision by starting this campaign. The fact that companies have started to respond to their customers’ complaints shows that they truly care about each individual customer. After all, a company’s customers are the main factors that determine the company’s success.

    I was impressed with Domino’s commercial that showed the photos unsatisfied customers sent in. Owning up to your mistakes and correcting them is essential in the PR field.


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