Astroturf is stuff that looks like grass but isn’t. Cell C has been astroturfing.
In case you missed it, here’s how it happened. Cell C staged a stunt. They uploaded a video onto YouTube of a Trevor Noah performance ripping all the mobile service providers to pieces. Then they wrote a letter of apology to him, which was published in the Sunday Times last weekend.
This was followed by a press conference, where Cell C announced that it was all just a stunt and that actually Trevor Noah was their new customer experience officer. I suppose that it’s fitting, appointing a comedian to make sure that we all know exactly what to expect from their customer service.
In the social media world astroturfing is just about the worst crime you can commit. Do not play your customers as fools. Ever. Even if Cell C had not come clean they would have been found out eventually.
So why do I think this is so bad?
1. Because it was simply untrue. Why would I or any other customers trust a word that Cell C says from now on? They have nailed their colours to the mast.
2. If Mr Noah was part of this subterfuge, then it’s pretty hard to find a reason to trust him either.
3. It absolutely destroys me to think that the Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt could call his business customer-centric. That phrase implies that you put your customer first.
I humbly apologise to my readers, I was taken as a fool when I called their apology a masterstroke. I would have expected an “Honest Joe’s Used Cars” business to do something like this –- but a serious business that cares about its brand? Never.
Well done, Cell C. You fooled me – but I think you will find that in the end, the joke is on you.
What do you think of this stunt? Comment on the article and let’s find out.
Read the original Memeburn article: Cell C responds to Facebook, YouTube jibes with full page newspaper ad