“Social media manager” is an important position at corporations. Through websites like Facebook and Twitter, brands have a great opportunity to attract attention and influence purchase via “earned” (read: free) media, as opposed to “paid” media (TV, print ads, etc.). The insider industry term for this free media is “eWoM”—electronic Word of Mouth.Tom McElligott, founding creative partner of the great Minneapolis ad agency, Fallon McElligott Rice, once said, and I paraphrase because this was pre-internet 1980s: I would much rather overestimate than underestimate the intelligence of the consumer. That quote really stuck with me in ad school, and McElligott became an early hero of mine. You can see some of his creative work, which includes the brilliant Rolling Stone “Perception/Reality” trade campaign, here.
McElligott was a very smart ad man. Today, many of the social media managers at large and important companies are, by contrast, not very smart ad men. To say that they regularly underestimate their customers’ intelligence would be a great understatement. They seem to believe their customers have the brain power of a baked potato.I’ve collected eight recent social media posts by large companies. Most of these updates are from the last month. To try to pick the abjectly stupidest one would not be easy. You can go ahead and give it a try, though.All of these update images are via the Condescending Corporate Brand Facebook Page, one of the few reasons to ever actually “engage” with Facebook. I recommend “Liking” them.KLM is the oldest airline in the world still operating under its original name. It has close to 32,000 employees worldwide. One of those employees writes KLM Middle East Facebook “engagement” updates like this one. This looks like a question on a third grade geography quiz. Egregious “Like-grubbing” posts like this one are unfortunately de rigueur by even seemingly sophisticated brands.There’s no question that Microsoft is fairly frantic to try to keep Internet Explorer in the future of web browsing conversation. But, comparing it to BDSM porn is beyond hopelessness, reaching a historical level of unintentional brand irony.DOVE body bar, now in new Desperation Sweat scent.