Use social to sell?

Today I had breakfast with the following news: «Una Coca-Cola personalizada a cambio de sangre»

Just after finishing my daily news feed, I come across a question from a student. He wondered why some authors recommend not getting commercial profit from the social actions they carry out. Understanding the social as “development and communication of initiatives that benefit us all and also actions that promote the participation of customers and other interest groups of the brand (stakeholders) around common values and/or objectives”. The author of this definition (Jordi Torrents in the book of which he is co-author «Strategic planning. The relevance of the consumer in commercial communication analyzed by planners») is the one who also states:

“Associating collective values and benefits to brands helps to differentiate them and generate preference, but let’s forget about using social to sell. In this regard, my position is clear and certainly controversial: marketing with a cause is ineffective in constituting a credible social dimension of the brand, capable of generating preference. Although the intention is good, the result obtained is usually poor. From the point of view of brand building, social action must be a reflection of corporate values. Marketing campaigns with a cause that respond to a specific commitment, disconnected from the company’s values and only seek a powerful and easy-to-understand message, obtain a response that usually oscillates between:

  • The indifference of the public to which it is addressed.
  • The indignation for the use of social problems as a claim for sale”

The question is therefore obligatory: Could Coca-Cola not generate indifference or indignation with the blatant use of this action to advertise?

This article has also been published in the Control & Strategies Magazine (ctrl) of November 2013…

…and in the opinion column of the online magazine Marketing Directo in March 2016: