There’s an old, well-known saying in the ad biz that goes something like this, “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.” In other words, if good — as in creative, engaging, distinctive — advertising motivates a bunch of people to try your product and that product doesn’t deliver, then the news travels fast. Because good advertising often gets talked about, and it gets talked about even more if the product it promotes sucks.
This maxim was coined back in the days before the internet. So when you think about how much faster and more easily people can spread word of mouth today online, replace the words “good advertising” with “good social network” and the words are even more apt. Here I don’t mean good in the sense of a cadre of brand enthusiasts. I mean good as in a large, well-connected group of people who like to express their opinion about products and brands.
In an earlier post I wrote about a grass-roots social media campaign, initiated by a group of brand enthusiasts who were calling for the return of Langnese’s Nogger Choc ice cream bar. I also commended Langnese for the way they engaged with the community and leveraged its members to spread the word when the company in fact decided to put Nogger Choc back on the market. But I also mentioned that there were some critical voices online complaining that the quality was not on par with the original product.
The critics haven’t disappeared. In fact, if you type Nogger Choc into Google, the first entry is a fairly intense rant about how bad the relaunched Nogger Choc is. The link takes you to an online petition of fairly angry, former Nogger Choc enthusiasts sharing similar opinions and describing in detail all the things that are wrong with the product. “Hell hath no fury like a brand lover scorned.”
Will this eventually result in Langnese taking Nogger Choc off the market a second time? It’s too early to tell. But all the grumbling could equally lead in another direction. Langnese could take the criticism of Nogger Choc’s most loyal consumers to heart and work with them to improve the product. Imagine the positive word-of-mouth that would ignite! And maybe even a few sales.
Sadly, it seems that Langnese is only interested in social media when people have good things to say about their products. There’s no place for comments on their web site. There’s no Facebook page. Indeed I haven’t been able to find anywhere online where Langnese is responding to the critics. Pretty disappointing.
I have to join the ranks of the nay-sayers, unfortunately. I was also a fan of the original Nogger Choc. I can’t honestly say I remember how good the quality was back then. But the ice cream in the new Nogger Choc seems like a something that came out of the lab, rather than a cow. I won’t be trying it again. Except perhaps on those rare occasions where I give into a craving for McDonald’s and momentarily lower my standards of what I consider acceptable nutrition. For one of those fast food binges, Nogger Choc would be the perfect dessert.