‘Hang in there Jack’ could have been so much more…

See my Superbowl post if you missed the ad that Jack in the Box ran during the big game. Or my ‘morning after’ post tracking the ad campaign’s social media — or more accurately, lack of a true social media — component.

Jack in the Box is one of San Diego’s Fortune 500s (along with SAIC, Qualcomm, Sempra…). So Jack is a hometown hero and many locals, me included, when we saw him get hit by a bus during a Superbowl ad, immediately went to the url advertised, www.hangintherejack.com, which couldn’t handle the traffic. It wasn’t until the next day that I could see all of its great multimedia content.

However, there was no RSS feed! WTH? How am I supposed to stay on top of changes and updates to this site? Oh, I guess people are supposed to subscribe to email alerts instead. No thanks. Get enough of that already! 

The company posted pictures of a vigil at their headquarters on Balboa Ave on Feb. 9. This generated 64 comments from fans. A manageable number if you wanted to respond, for instance. But asking Facebook fans to buy curly fries to show their support of Jack is all just a bit silly. Having him in surgery for over a week is a bit of a stretch too.

While the site encourages you to make a video response, comment on the videos, share the videos, and order anything off their menu (in lieu of flowers), it is a classic mass media model. The official brand communication is one-way. And while it asks fans to care about Jack, it doesn’t show them the same courtesy.

Even with the campaign’s Facebook page and Twitter account, @jackbox, which now has 3,600+ followers, there is no ‘conversation,’ no effort to respond to and engage with fans. What a missed opportunity!

A fake Twitter account actually did a better job of updates in the aftermath of Jack’s accident than the real one (see @hangintherejack).

I think the lack of engagement on the Twitter account is a big reason that it only has 3,600 followers two weeks after debuting the campaign. 40,000 followers or more would be do-able if someone understood how to use Twitter to connect with fans. (After all, 151 million watched the big game when the campaign debuted.)

Not only did the company go to the extreme of nearly offing its spokesperson and brand icon, it paid $3 million to run the :30 second Superbowl spot, and yet the most inexpensive, easy and truly effective communication to engage fans is not being done at all. A true social media campaign, I would also argue, would not just be effective but appropriate! After all, we’re talking about a very emotional and raw subject–tongue in cheek, but give people an outlet and entertain them at the same time. Oh, the buzz that never got to see the light of day here; it nearly kills me!

I think modern-day Madison Avenue types could learn a little from the throwback Mad Men characters who gave us all such a giggle on Twitter (like my fave @peggyolson ). AMC finally got it, after all, and realized these ‘characters’ were a fantastic brand asset even if they weren’t the company’s creation.

Or, maybe, like their compatriots in the newspaper and recording industries, the traditional advertising industry is threatened by relinquishing control and engaging with the unwashed masses they seek to influence. I’m not sure that model will hold up. Get well Jack!

2 Comments so far

  1. Sean Bonner (seanbonner) on February 17th, 2009 @ 9:56 am

    Excellent piece Julie!


  2. links for 2009-02-17 | sbdc (pingback) on February 17th, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

    […] %u2018Hang in there Jack%u2019 could have been so much more%u2026 | San Diego Metblogs (tags: twitter jackinthebox advertising) […]



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