Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rajnigandha Six Word Story Contest - And the winner is...

Rajnigandha Pan Masala, one of the sponsors at Jaipur Literature festival every year organizes a contest i.e #RajnigandhaSixWordStory. It's a interesting brand engagement consistent with the theme of the festival. 

Users have to share a six word story and they can stand a chance to win. The event being one of the largest of its kind in the world attracts a lot of participation and so does the contest.

This year however it did not go as planned and the contest backfired. The narrative on social media was not about the contest, literature or the Jaipur Literature festival. It became a narrative about Rajnigandha, chewing tobacco and oral cancer.

Users got creative and used the brand hashtag to spread the message of chewing tobacco and oral cancer.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened with Rajnigandha. It faced similar backlash during the Times Literature Festival held in New Delhi. 

The consumer feedback and sentiment is becoming stronger on issues that concern health and hygiene. It's important to consider the incremental value such integration versus the risks of negative word of mouth. For a brand such as Rajnigandha keeping the narrative open-ended may not be the best idea. It can go out of control. This is also not the first time such a thing is happening to brand/institution. In April, 2014 the New York Police Department did an activity on Twitter where they asked netizens to share a picture with a NYPD officer. The NYPD campaign backfired as people shared images of police brutality. Soon this campaign made way in to the timelines of people on and off Twitter. One important lesson here is to gauge sentiment accurately before starting such an activity. The traction that a campaign can create can lead to both amplification of positive or negative sentiment. On social media you cannot create perception. You can only amplify it.