Posted in Customer Service, Marketing, Shopper Marketing, Strategy

Westfield Facebook Campaign: What the…

Westfield recently started a Facebook campaign. (Or did they?)

To summarise the online chatter about the campaign here are a few typical snippets of conversation:

  • Tweet 1: 12,349 Westfield mentions in statuses. 67,423 Westfield mentions in comments. Westfield top of mind in xmas season. Job done.
  • Tweet 2: Westfield Facebook Promotion a Hoax?
  • Tweet 3: Angry about the Westfield spam on facebook. Support local traders this Christmas! Make the big guys pay for their own ads
  • Facebook Status Update: I joined the group All I Want For Christmas Is To Shove That Westfield Giftcard Up Your A***.
  • A Google search for “westfield facebook campaign” reveals only 8 or so mentions and that includes the duplicates.

I can’t comment about the actual campaign. But it raises some interesting points/questions about social media marketing generally.

Thought #1

Is ‘being mentioned on the websites’ the same as achieving top-of-mind?

Thought #2

Despite the campaign being simple and clear (as far as the marketers go) there is always subsequent ambiguity in the mind of the customer. Even when we are conducting ‘old media’ campaigns we should anticipate this and plan for it.

Thought #3

If you embark on a social media campaign, there will be negative feedback – even to the extent of campaign sabotage.  Being prepared isn’t all that much help, because what can you really do about it if anonymous people snipe from the sidelines?

Social Media has made this negative feedback loop visible. It has always been there – social media has simply made it visible – as unpleasant as that may seem. Not everyone loves your brand the way you do.

Thought #4

Twitter is more active and more immediate as a gauge of public response as opposed to Google which is a useful but quaint archive. Twitter almost plays a role of a meta-system that governs the conversations, which may or may not direct you to the ‘archives’ for a more detailed check.

Thought #5

But (to me) the most interesting question is:

Is achieving top-of-mind a meaningful measure of success? This goes to the age-old question: Is brand awareness an appropriate objective (of itself) or is a sales increase the only measure that counts?

It may surprise some people, but I am not a fan of brand advertising for the sake of brand advertising. Unless advertising also converts into sales (and sometimes that may take a while, I think there are better uses for your money.) Check out for a blog that expounds this philosophy better than I can.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this campaign.


3 thoughts on “Westfield Facebook Campaign: What the…

  1. Great summary.

    I had many of my facebook friends firstly install this ‘app’, change their status and then receive loads of messages (including from me also) explaining it was a viral marketing campaign and that they are assisting one of the World’s great shopping chains to exploit many thousands of facebook users for (almost) free .. a single $10,000 voucher must make this the lowest cost promotion in Westfield history.

    As soon as it was mentioned on facebook as a viral marketing campaign, my & other ‘hub type individuals’ postings were repeated on many of my friend’s friends facebook pages. The negative comments for Westfield then flowed.

    I guess whether this campaign is considered a success or not (lets face it noone will ever really know) depends on whether or not you subscribe to the old ‘any publicity is good publicity’ theory.

    I personally, marketing successfully many products to Gen Y, don’t think that the net benefit of brand awareness from a campaign that turns sour like this will ever outweigh the negative. The facebook user of today has no problem deliberately turning away from a vendor who they think may have tried to ‘pull a swift one’ and exploit them.

    Westfield would already have an unprompted brand awareness in their category of 90%+ for certain .. I don’t think that this sort of social media campaign was ever going to turn out well for them and it demonstrates a misunderstanding of this medium that is all too common amongst Australia businesses – you MUST always add real value to users to gain from any such interaction – not simply jump in and try a grab for branding with the promise of a single gift voucher.


  2. Thanks for thoughtful response. I actuall agree with you too. And not sure organisations always appreciate the risks.Dennis Price Ganador

    -original message- Subject: [RetailSmart] Comment: “Westfield Facebook Campaign: What the…”


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