Dear Pitbull, You will visit Kodiak, Alaska. Sincerely, The Internet—A Facebook Promotion Gone Wrong

Posted on July 6th, 2012 by True Media

Kodiak, Alaska: Population 6,130, according to the 2010 Census.
Wal-Mart #2711 in Kodiak, Alaska Facebook Likes: 60,000 and counting.
How does a local Facebook page generate 10x the amount of “Likes” than the town’s total population you may ask yourself?
Answer: When the Internet railroads a Facebook promotion.
Here’s the scenario:
Wal-Mart has teamed up with Energy Sheets (a LeBron James backed company) and Pitbull, the Miami based rapper, to generate “Likes” on local Wal-Mart Facebook Pages. The location with the most “Likes” will win a Pitbull concert for their local community. The current leader of the competition is Wal-Mart #2711 in Kodiak, Alaska. My gut as a media professional tells me that Alaska does not have a strong rap following, so the three Pitbull fans of Kodiak, Alaska are in for a real treat.
Since Pitbull has appeared on the rap scene, he has had and has been featured in several No. 1 hits. Wal-Mart may have been banking on his success in music translating to their Facebook contest. Although this contest is getting a lot of attention on the web and in the media, I am pretty certain this was not the intended result.
This contest is a prime example of the uncertain results social media campaigns can generate. As a Media Planner, I am always trying to think of creative ways to engage my client’s audiences in the social media realm. When we put the Internet audience in control, it can be as scary as it is exciting. A great creative idea that fits strategy, reaches our audience and sounds as if it should achieve our objectives can easily flop or go the wrong direction. The social media waters are still uncharted and there is no formula to get these campaigns right. Even for the biggest of powerhouse companies, like Wal-Mart, can still get out of control (See our previous blog on the McD Stories Twitter Campaign) I’ll go ahead and put a tick in the “investigate a little more/tighten up contest rules” column prior to launching a campaign similar to the Wal-Mart/Pitbull promotion.
The Wal-Mart/Pitbull contest ends on July 15th. We’ll see if another city can beat out Kodiak, Alaska for the free concert. Stay tuned.