Newcastle steps into the social-media ring with Budweiser, but the outcome of the fight may surprise you. In the social space, it turns out the fans are in control, not the brands.
Towards the end of July, Newcastle had a seemingly brilliant idea: poke fun at Budweiser’s latest marketing ploy, a bow-tie-shaped can. This fight is about a month old, but that’s just enough time for the dust to settle in order to clearly examine the results.
Budweiser’s new can takes the shape of the bow tie in the Budweiser logo, a silly change that clearly has no effect on the beer inside the can.
In an attempt to differentiate itself from beer brands that focus countless dollars on pointless changes to the can instead of the actual beer, Newcastle posted the below image on its social media channels with the the following message.
"Introducing the new, #Newcastle bow-tie can. It’s our regular can with the sides pushed in. Innovation! #NoBollocks".
The intent is to get “real” beer fans to pay attention to Newcastle - the kind of fans that don’t care for color-changing paint, bigger mouth holes, and bow-tie cans. However, the social-media battle sparked up some backlash from those “real” beer fans, the same ones Newcastle was trying to attract. Soon after Newcastle’s joke, a Facebook user posted the following comment to the photo.
"Is that to hide that fact Newcastle is not using Toasted barley to get its golden or deep brown color; however, in this case, Newcastle is colored artificially with caramel color?
This caramel coloring is manufactured by heating ammonia and sulfites under high pressure, which creates carcinogenic compounds. If beer companies were required by law to list the ingredients, Newcastle would likely have to have a cancer warning label under California law because it is a carcinogen proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.”
It turns out that calling attention to Budweiser’s “fakeness” caused fans to shine a super-bright spotlight on Newcastle’s “fakeness”. The comment was just one of the first in a massive social-media backlash over a simple joke. Newcastle later responded with an official statement that suggests that the company will look into alternative ingredients that achieve the caramel color, but it’s so far unknown if Newcastle is just calming the crowd with empty promises.
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Facebook is about to unleash a new feature on the masses, which enables a user to embed a facebook post into any blog post or web page. The feature is long overdue, especially for bloggers and social-media fans.
About 72% of Facebook users block the public from their Facebook posts and profiles, says Consumer Reports, so the company has been searching for and developing ways to increase the exposure of its public posts, profiles and pages. Embeddable posts is certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways of doing that, and since the Web is already accustomed to embedding all types of media, including Tweets and YouTube videos, it only seems natural.
Right now, the disadvantage with Facebook posts is that users have to visit Facebook.com in order to comment, like and share posts, which sometimes makes blogs, Twitter and YouTube more attractive platforms for announcements and big, open discussions. But embeddable posts solve that problem by allowing the discussions to occur outside of Facebook, wherever the audience is currently located.
In 2013, Facebook hasn’t underperformed, but it is losing (or sharing more and more of) its younger audience to other niche social platforms, such as Tumblr. Post embedding can be an effective way to keep Facebook in the loop on these other platforms, but it may not be enough to re-capture the youngest Web users. Some of the Web’s youngest users see Facebook the same way that the rest of us see AOL, a walled-off garden that dumbs down the Web into a boring, predictable and forgettable experience.
Facebook is slowly rolling out post embedding, so it’s not yet available to everyone. For now, only a few mainstream media companies, including CNN, can use the feature.
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