By accident I came across a promotion for Vaseline‘s “140th birthday”. It’s a product owned by Unilever – a company which boasts 1H2010 sales of €21.9 billion, “underlying volume growth 6.6%, underlying sales growth 3.8% and underlying price growth (2.6)%, underlying operating margin up 30bps with continuing strong gross margins offset by significant investment in advertising and promotional expenditure, up 180bps and a net cash flow from operating activities €2.2 billion, up €0.2 billion”.
It’s big outfit, with massive resources – more than 13,000 people across North America – generating nearly $10 billion in sales in 2009.
As the promotion byline Vaseline asks “How Do You Flip for Vaseline Petroleum Jelly?” and “to celebrate the wonder jelly’s 140th anniversary, Vaseline is compiling the ultimate list of uses by inviting fans to share how they flip for Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.
The campaign centres on social media, and in particular their Facebook page:
…where loyalists can share their favorite uses. The 140 ways Vaseline likes best will be showcased in a video montage highlighting the wonder jelly’s versatility. Everyone who submits a tip will be entered for a chance to win1 a limited edition jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly which has been bedazzled with Swarovski crystals.
Where it gets a bit sticky is that the Facebook Page isn’t there?!!!
Well, it is there, but empty!
The promo urges you to log on to the Vaseline page and share your tips and usage. And the Wall breathlessly urges:
The Official Vaseline Facebook Page Have you seen all of the new, exciting things happening on our page? Check out the “What’s New” tab for a chance to win some cool prizes!
When you click on the What’s New Tab, which has also been set as the landing page for facebook.com/vaseline, then you see COMING SOON.
Fair enough. These things happen, but I was a bit taken aback that a massive concern like Unilever doesn’t care to coordinate it’s PR and “buzz” with the ability to capture that buzz at the destination. It’s a bit sloppy, maybe the rollout logistics got stuck in the Vaseline jelly?
How do you think this effort became unstuck in the corporate labyrinth?
How should have Unilever verified the rollout better?
How did their social media team break down?