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JELL-O's #FML Social Media Campaign Conflict

If you haven’t seen JELL-O’s #FML campaign yet, you’re in for a treat. Just in case you’re unfamiliar, the #FML hashtag is used on Twitter to say “F my life” — usually about "first world problems" as in:

twitter #FML

JELL-O wants to reclaim #FML to mean “Fun my life.” They have responded to #FML tweets on Twitter with the following response:

Jell-o #FML

Jell-o social media campaign

Jell-o Twitter campaign

When the campaign launched, there was immediate and polar feedback on the concept. Some people loved it:

#FML Fun My Life

Jell-o fun my life

Others saw a foreboding cloud over the shiny, new idea:

Jell-o tweets

#FML fun my life

Here’s my perspective: Whether or not the campaign concept was a winner is irrelevant.

Who isn’t nostalgic for JELL-O? Who doesn’t want JELL-O telling them it’s all gonna be okay when we’re a little bummed out? Who wouldn’t want an #FML care package from JELL-O? Bill Cosby wouldn’t steer us wrong. JELL-O’s got it goin’ on.

I think the concept could have led to a phenomenally successful campaign. My issue lies with who they have responding to messages. In some instances, their responses seem delightful and cheery to a little bit of “first world problems” complainery.

Jell-o social engagement

But in others, their responses are inappropriately representing their brand — times when people share serious heartache and personal issues and have the wherewithal to archive it for the public with the #FML hashtag — and JELL-O winds up looking nonchalant about potentially serious issues.

I think a lot of people share real personal issues through social media in a hope for empathy or just to talk to someone. An improperly timed, relatively callous response to a serious cry for help could tank the JELL-O campaign if they don’t start setting some ground rules about the messages they will respond to.

Maybe the kid talking about dropping out of high school doesn’t really need a box full of JELL-O. Maybe he needs a link to the types of jobs you can get without a high school diploma or a swift kick to the head? I don’t know; I’m not his mom.

I know the cure for West Nile Virus isn't "MOAR JELL-O!" But it's not the job of advertising campaigns to be empathetic and sensitive. 

I want to see how the campaign plays out. I think it was ballsy and creative. The creative that accompanies the new #FML is fantastic and I think it still has chance of flight.

If you want to see how it plays out, check out @JELLO on Twitter or see what people are sharing with the hashtag #FML.

You can also read what the advertising community has to say about the campaign so far:

From Digiday: JELL-O makes popular #FML hashtag G-rated

From AdWeek: JELL-O hijacks Twitter’s profane #FML hashtag, changes it to mean “fun my life”

What do you think about it? Going places? Doomed to fail?

Have a great funning weekend.

Join The Conversation

  • Lizzie Maldonado's picture
    May 31 Posted 1 year ago Lizzie Maldonado

    Isaiah, I am completely with you. I think the "guerilla style" approach is badass as well, they just needed to think about having someone managing the actual responses who could actually read and guage emotional situations. :)

  • May 31 Posted 1 year ago Isaiah Fapuro

    Great article Lizzie,

    When I first heard about this a few days ago, I definitely though it wouldn't work and that the conversion of "#FML" wouldn't work out, but you've correctly identified IMO that kind of focus isn't really important.

    I'm keeping my eye on JELL-O's "guerilla style" approach here for sure. I can definitley see some opportunities to link the campaign with some sort of sales promotion in the near future.

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