Lessons: Why Krispy Kreme and the KKK shouldn't mix
February 18, 2015
By Matthew Tukaki
Imagine this - a bright social media, advertising and marketing genius comes up with a novel idea to sell more sugary treats, otherwise known as Krispy Kreme donuts. Called Krispy Kreme Klub the concept was simple enough - try and create some sort of loyalty initiative that not only bought more punters through the door (of which I have been one on I don't know how many occasions) - and then it all went wrong.
Of course the next step was always to shorten the name and so as sure as night follows day that's exactly what Krispy Kreme in the UK did - shortened the Krispy Kreme Klub to KKK. Now, for those of you not familiar with what those three letters are associated with think every element of racism and discrimination you can and you've got it - the Klu Klux Klan. That's right, those good old boys who didn't quite think all people were created equal.
Step three - public back lash. Well, that is what happens when you start tweeting the promotion out using "KKK Wednesday" right? But wait for it - then they have an actual promotion brochure and there it is good ol' KKK Wednesday nestled in between "Colouring Tuesday" and "Face Painting Thursday"
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened next “We are aware of the Hull store’s unfortunate naming choice for its Club program, and we are truly sorry for any inconvenience or offense this misstep may have caused our fans,” Krispy Kreme’s PR manager Lafeea Watson told The Huffington Post. and
“We do believe this was a completely unintentional oversight on the part of our longtime franchise partners in the UK. They have taken quick and appropriate actions to remove the materials online and in-shops, and have wholeheartedly apologised to their consumers.”
So what lessons can we all learn from this sugar coated tragedy?
Seriously check your use of acronyms and don't think it will make for great click bait
Never leave an intern alone without supervision
Sure viral marketing is great - but not this viral
Quality control everything that heads out the door - and yes, I am free to quality control the donuts (every single last one of them!)
About the author: Matthew Tukaki is the Founder of EntreHub and Chairman of Deakin University CSaRO. Follow him on Twitter
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