Grey Poupon’s Society of Good Taste Is True-to-Brand: Elitist Like-Shunning Creates Chatter

Hello world!  I’ve not vanished from the face of the earth, but have been buried by school/kids/work/newlywed status (it’s a harsh reality, I know).  I’ve not had the opportunity to shower daily in the last 30 days, let alone sit down to write.  But, I’ve wanted to write about Grey Poupon’s Facebook campaign since it rolled out, the week of my wedding, but I didn’t get around to blogging about it until it was old news.  Instead, I chose to write about Grey Poupon for a communications class this week.

Drawing on its marketing history (a la Rolls Royce and butlers), Grey Poupon shunned the typical race for “likes” on Facebook and instead created an exclusive fan society.  Fans wanting to “like” the page (thus, joining The Society of Good Taste) allow an application to review their Facebook use to assure that all fans have “discerning taste.”  Perhaps hoping to spark a viral word-of-mouth campaign in which many Facebook users play their game just to see if they would make the cut, this campaign had some  success (though limited in terms of viral social media marketing).  Upon hearing about the campaign in early September, I immediately applied for membership in The Society of Good Taste for research purposes.  I was denied.  As an opinion leader in my circle regarding social media, I posted my rejection for my friends to see.  My friends first expressed their horror that I might not be as classy as they once believed, and then took the test for themselves.  Most were also denied – and my circle is full of MDs, PhDs and CFAs…  If well-educated, travelled and cultured professionals aren’t acceptable, then who is?  I applied again today so I could share some of the messages created in the campaign and see how many members have joined the society as a way to measure the campaign’s success (36, 175 as of 10/31/12).  While I certainly didn’t change much about my Facebook usage in the last month (though did enable the “check-in” mapping feature during my recent trip to New Orleans), this second time around, I did “cut the mustard” (that’s one of GP’s messages) and was accepted into the Society.

The application assesses your Facebook profile, scouring your status updates for grammatical errors, assessing the number of likes on your comments and your number of friends.  I was dinged for using “ADD” in a post (I was referring to Attention Deficit Disorder and though perhaps I should’ve used periods in the abbreviation, it would be considered by many to be correct.  Duh, Grey Poupon, I know ADD is not a word, at least not in all caps).  Bonus points if you can identify the dangling participle in this Grey Poupon commercial:

What was the purpose of this counter-intuitive marketing campaign?  If the goal was primarily to create brand-related chatter, then I’d call it a success.  The Facebook campaign received a great deal of credible press: articles in the New York Times and Time, as well as blog posts (from Joe Berkowitz from Co.Create, Olivia Roat of Business 2 Community, and many others).  If the goal was to further differentiate the brand from the fairly saturated condiment market, then reminding its fans of the advertising campaigns of old that set Grey Poupon apart as the choice of the elite would accomplish this.  I’ll admit the application is clever and fun, but I wonder what happens when a campaign such as this is released into the ether, when the Company allows people to co-create content in social media?  What if those rejected by GP were key opinion leaders in their virtual worlds?  Is negative press or chatter better than no chatter at all?  One Facebook user said it well in her comment:

Well said @grey poupon

Another negative comment:

Grey Poupon Facebook talkback

So, will the campaign overcome the negative comments and come out on top, translating the campaign into increased mustard sales?Grey Poupon as appetite

Shun me, shun  my business

Kudos to Grey Poupon for the following:

  • Finally accepting me into their Society of Good Taste.
  • Having the brand confidence to take marketing risks.
  • Maintaining it’s tongue-in-cheek branding for nearly two decades.
  • Embracing, and profiting from, those who make fun of them.

Seriously, this kind of product placement is every marketer’s dream, right?


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