Wednesday, 4 March 2009

ASDA - Astroturfing Stupidly Destroys Advertising

I saw in a Brand Republic article this morning that ASDA just launched a new campaign and a Youtube video channel: Saving You Money TV

I started out being in two minds about it. Basically the gist of it is ASDA is always being cheap and saving you money. Given the recession it's even more important than ever to all pull together like brothers and that you keep spending the little money you have at ASDA - anyways something like that.

So they created this TV channel on Youtube where everyone can share what their money saving tips are - though it's already (Just with 11 videos) turning into an any tips, advice or cooking recipe acceptable.

Sooo... I thought OK, sure could be interesting, Youtube channel design is nice, the videos on offer aren't overly interesting but could have a small audience, and more to the point some the videos shot on location in an ASDA might be shared to friends of the people appearing on there.

The whole idea works for ASDA as a brand (even though milking and choking to death the recession theme, but everyone is doing right now...) and they're making sending videos as easy as possible, which is a great point in their favour (via Youtube uploads, email, MMS, etc).

But here's the last thing, I kept looking at a couple of videos, such the definitely waaay too long cheese grating 'competition' and noticed the 2 comments. Those are highly suspicious and prety sure it's astroturfing. Could be just those two and hopefully not part of the whole campaign, but I hate that. It's wrong and it always backfires.

User 1: Nitramrallytrack - Joined Youtube in January and since then the only activity is to have subscribed to the ASDA channel and watched their videos. Highly suspicious. Basic astroturfing. Other user is katec1975 and only joined a few days ago, same story...

They write: 'Utterly random but funny as...This man should be on telly - mentle' 'What a grate idea...'

Have you seen the video? Do you just happen to specialise in bad puns or bad spelling? Who do you think ASDA customers are? All dumb and illiterate? If it's the case, it's insulting is what it is.

Maybe nobody will care about this whole thing, but hey... What goes around comes around.

Now on the other hand, a couple of real Youtube users - or rather one right now have noticed the channel and posted one of their videos, so as I said earlier it might be interesting to a few people and might get khgibbons more video views, so why not...


Eaon Pritchard said...

heh, i guess what happens is the PR people get twitchy as the momentum takes a bit of time to build organically. they think in 'campaign' terms so leap in with fake comments as they want it to happen 'now'.
woth remembering the 1-9-90 rule.

Willem said...

For sure - and I think you're right, it was probably a small act trying to get things rolling. Though having a look at it a week later, if the growth is organic, it's likely going to be a slow one...