The most interesting confluences of events are often the least predictable. In February 2013 we have been treated to three quite surprising stories:
1. The discovery of the mortal remains of King Richard the Third, face down in a parking lot in Leicester, a relatively non-descript town in the East Midlands of England. As someone posted on Facebook, "who among us have not been found face down in a parking lot?"
2. The discovery of horse meat in beef products in England's supermarkets; bringing new meaning to the expression "where's the beef?"
3. The discovery by Burger King that their Twitter feed had been hacked by an individual who is clearly no fan of the brand or an activist shareholder.
As with all that passes us on our mortal journey, we should try to learn something so what does this amount to?
In the case of the much reviled King Richard it tells us the nothing remains secret forever and that in the end science either verifies or dispels myths. Yes, he did have a hunched back, no, he did not have a withered arm.
In the case of contaminated food products, it tells us two things; first that in a social media world every part of the supply chain that effects a brand is a grenade with the pin out, and secondly that the relentless pursuit of price efficiency can result in behaviors that end up costing a brand far more than the amount saved by that pursuit.
And what of Burger King? Two lessons here also and maybe a third. Firstly, that no one is safe; it is simply no longer possible to bomb proof brand assets; secondly that bad news travels faster than good and the maybe…all publicity is good publicity; after all Burger King's Twitter followers grew by over 30,000 followers in a day.
No horses were injured in the writing of this post.
Rob Norman is Chief Digital Officer Global of GroupM. Rob’s principle tasks are developing the interaction organization within GroupM, developing positioning and thought leadership and leading the interaction contribution to business development. You can reach Rob at @robnorman or email@example.com.
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