Lots of Fizz, not a lot of flavour

Hat-tip to Joe Thornley of ProPR for pointing out this clumsy example of self-inflating marketing/pr. Joe’s talking about the launch of Sprite Yard, a new social network/community from Coke. There are good points on the legitimacy of this as a social network and even better points about the hyperbole and audacious rhetoric used in this release.

Among the more egregious examples (which, to be fair, Joe already highlights):

Forget Myspace and Facebook. That’s old news. Now, there is Sprite’s exclusive network called the Sprite Yard.

Coca-Cola expects the Sprite Yard to set new benchmarks for consumer brand engagement

Measurement metrics have been built in so Coca-Cola can track, in real-time, which features consumers are using most to the direct impact on beverage sales. It enables Coca-Cola to react very quickly to what their market wants.

How do you look if you don’t grow to be bigger, more entrenched, than Facebook or MySpace? What if you don’t set new benchmarks for consumer brand engagement? Do you know what those benchmarks are? How about you share them with us so we can track how you’re doing too? What if you can’t react quickly to what the market wants (for the record, I know of very few nimble multi-billion dollar multi-national consumer goods companies)?

A big problem with this kind of hype is not so much that everyone’s going to think you’re a blow-hard (and quite likely loose interest as a result – though that is a problem), it’s more that you are now backed into a corner with nowhere to build up to if things go well and nowhere to hide if things go poorly.

Choose your words wisely. You’re settng expectations for how people (consumers, media, advertisers) will judge you.

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