Last Thursday (July 3rd), Coca Cola Brazil launched the drink i9 – Hidrotonico, the Brazilian version of Powerade. As a part of the i9 marketing strategy in blogs & social media, Coca Cola handpicked 9 prominent bloggers, custom made their homepage and gifted them a fancy USB mini fridge with the new product to be tested – a reason to blog about.
As can be expected, Coca Cola’s message and marketing strategy surreptiously got spread , until the story was picked up by BlueBus. Making a mockery of Coca Cola’s strategy to buy bloggers, it introduced a new term to refer to the picked blogs :”blogs-de-aluguel” or “rent-a-blog“. Bloggers reacted to that with “I am not a rent-a-blog blogger” manifesto.
The Manifesto reads:
“A blog is a personal page, is a time logbook, is expression, is someone saying what they think/reckon/believe for those who want to read it. There aren’t bloggers’ union, wages, holidays, but we do lots of overtime. A blogger is not a journalist or an advertising agent: they can be everything and nothing, teenager or mother, hairdresser or CEO. Each one has the audience they deserve, the credibility they have conquered.”
Legitimizing ads through blogs they stated: “Advertisers are discovering how best to use this tool to reach niche …. Currently, the best alternative for brands come in blogs”.
Adding a pinch of salt to the Coke strategy to curb bloggers democracy, Cartoonist Andrew Dahmer published a satirical comic strip on false democracy.
Coca Cola’s i9 marketing program may not be successful (or has it already created the i9 buzz?) – but it surely brought to some “street fights” on Portuguese blogs. We feel – this ethical issue will soon be discussed globally.