Making a media mountain from a social molehill – in defence of Aldi’s social media intern

The campaign, rather predictably, was the victim of two sets of Twitter trolls. The first, let’s call them ‘the 15-year-old boys’, filled in the blank with silly although quite obviously hilarious, phrases like ‘diarrhoea’ or ‘your Mum’.

The second group, let’s call them ‘The Authority’, couldn’t resist pointing out the stupidity of the campaign in the first place, replying with comments like, ‘Maybe ask the guys over at #yourtaxis how this could end up’ or, ‘Pretty sure Aldi’s social media intern is about to get fired’.

This social media faux-pas was even compared by B&T magazine to a 2013 campaign run by UK supermarket chain Tesco, which had previously been the subject of an investigation into its use of horse meat in many of its products. But this fundamentally misses the point; Tesco’s customers had real cause for complaint.

If you’ve just sold me a product containing horse meat, the expression ‘time to hit the hay’ should probably be wiped from your social media vocabulary. They gave unhappy customers the way in – a collective point for them to vent their frustration.

This wasn’t what Aldi did. As far as I’m aware, Aldi has nothing to apologise for – except their maddeningly low stock levels of cheap, six-burner BBQs. It has not betrayed the trust of its customers. It showed no more hubris than brands that assume the role of ‘friend’ on these social channels.

Sure, Aldi was trolled (what brand isn’t?), but it wasn’t trolled by thousands of unhappy customers appalled by the arrogance of a supermarket that they hate. It was trolled by 15-year-old boys and Australia’s marketing elite. Who cares?

Indeed the campaign seems to have gone rather well over on Facebook, where satisfied customers gushed over peanut biscuits, vanilla yoghurt topped rice cakes and reasonably-priced steak.

But don’t let that stop you from pointing out what idiots Aldi has on its social media team.

Geoffrey Stackhouse – you know the ‘kick me’ guy from earlier – goes on to suggest that: “Aldi could turn this into a win if it could be a ‘good sport’ and admit it was a bad idea and they’ve learned their lessons”.

Admit to whom, Geoffrey? To you? To the social media editor of News Limited? Because you’re the only people who seem to care! Even the 15-year-old boys have taken their diarrhoea somewhere else by now.

  • Adam Woods is marketing director of Reed Exhibitions.

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