CEREAL KILLER! Kashi’s Social Media Misstep—An Unnecessary Tragedy In Two Parts

Kashi has done an amazing job marketing their product, and those years of Kelloggs’ investments have paid off with serious growth in recent times.  The brand boasts a well-established brand story and message.  They seemed to really connect with their consumers.  Until now…

Today, a friend got this e-mail from the company…

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“Keeping it real”?  Are they kidding?  They pull the plug on a site a considerable amount of people opted in on with nary a mention of why?  Sure, they offer an interesting and useful little app with their Ingredient Decoder, but every other part of this remarkably tin-eared email reads like you’re getting dumped via voicemail: it’s perfunctory and weasely.

Within hours, the company heard back from their community.  And apparently, their community took exception with Kashi corporate.  Six hours later, this email arrived under the Subject line “kashi.com – still going strong”:

picture-11No kidding they made an “Oops!”—and that line itself reads like another mistake, like something a child might say in reference to an unfortunate potty-training mishap.  Eww…   

This follow-up email was the right idea, but again, poorly executed.  Consumers weren’t told they were signing up for a ‘temporary website.’  For whatever reason, Kashi decided that for them, and tried to make good by passing this community off to an entirely corporate, barely-interactive kashi.com site: far less-engaging, far less two way communication, far less Web 2.0.

 I can’t say what happened here but I have a pretty good guess: this smells like internal gamesmanship, a change based on re-prioritizing investments or managers—and possibly even vendors.  It smacks of brand politics.

None of which means anything to their consumers.  A pity, that.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79