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Olla conodoms Facebook baby friend request

Olla condoms’ social media marketing campaign: creepy or innovative?

Olla Condoms has launched a new social media marketing campaign, conceptualised by advertising agency Age Isobar. Whether you think it’s creepy or innovative, it is definitely one to remember.

Mvelase Peppetta
Mvelase is a Senior Account Manager at Irvine Bartlett one of the most sought after full service public relations companies in South Africa. Mvelase is passionate about all... More

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Looking to create awareness around unplanned pregnancies and its product, Olla — probably breaking every rule Facebook has regarding marketing on the social network — “targeted” a number of young men on Facebook, created Facebook profiles and sent them friend requests.

The twist to the campaign was that the friend requests these men received, were from their still-to-born “sons”.

The company took the names of the young men and tacked a “Jr” onto it, so it was that a William Silva would have received a friend request from a William Silva Jr. The friend request was accompanied by a message promoting the use of Olla condoms.

“Avoid surprises like this one” Olla cheekily suggested.

While reactions to this campaign from those who were “targeted” by Olla cannot been scarce, there has been a fair amount of reaction to the campaign online.

Encapsulating the general consensus of those who felt the ad crossed a line, Thomas Bigum posted a YouTube comment saying, “That’s not advertising. It’s spammish behaviour. No brand shall friend request me without a lifetime [of] hatred called upon them. Stick to the ads — douchebags”.

French website SoParticular, however, called the campaign “intelligent” and Newser wondered whether this was a signal of a new direction for social media marketing.

Dutch airline KLM, which received accolades for its “KLM Surprise” campaign also faced similar questions and critiques over that campaign.

With the key to KLM Surprise being the company identifying particular customers and then finding out as much about them via social media, some wondered whether that campaign was a “success or stalking”.

The campaign is certainly innovative. Whether Olla, like KLM, will be able to shake off the stigma of infringing on what many consider as “personal” and not be seen as creepy, remains to be seen.

What is certain though, is that they’re doing a far better job at social media marketing than rival condom company Durex.