Coke Ignites the Brazilian Blogosphere with its Social Media Strategy

I just read an interesting article over at TrendSpotting covering Coke’s latest foray into social media marketing that I thought was interesting enough to share.

In this effort, Coke decided to use social media as its primary vehicle to market its latest Brazilian product i9: Hidrotonico (a beverage comparable to that of Powerade). So they found 9 influential bloggers, gave each a USB Mini Fridge with i9 in it, and waited in hopes that these bloggers would blog about it.2647427596_284ed60e20.jpg

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately while the blogosphere and Twittersphere heated up from these reviews, shortly following was criticism by an influential Brazilian blog, Blue Bus stating that the bloggers who accepted the product were in the wrong. As Trend Spotting noted, Blue Bus, “introduced a new term to refer to the picked blogs :”blogs-de-aluguel” or “rent-a-blog.”

In response to this criticism, these bloggers rejected this accusation with “I am not a rent-a-blog blogger” manifesto. This manefesto began a larger blogger debate over the compensation of bloggers, sparking blog post rebuttles (all of which I can’t read), and even “I am not a Rent-A-Blog Blogger” badges. Social media agency

If you are like me you may be scratching your head to figure out how Coke was in the wroaluguel.pngng. In my opinion as a social media marketer, Coke may have given more than required to have their product reviewed, but a mini-fridge that can only hold one bottle is far from over-compensation. On the other hand, I was not able to determine if these bloggers were writing content that was completely out of line with their blogs goals and objectives, or if these bloggers neglected to disclose this compensation. If either of these were the case, I would completely agree with Blue Bus’s point of view.

In an article from the Global Voices blog, I realize that this lack of understanding may be a result of cultural differences regarding the acceptability of blogger compensation. As Paula Goes writes, “The “monetization” debate is never out of fashion on the Brazilian blogosphere, with heated opinions both for and against the fact that bloggers may use blogs to make some money or even a living out of writing.”

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Coke’s strategy could have worked if it were directed toward US Bloggers?

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