Or....take Door #4. Didja know that if you drop Mentos in a Diet Coke that it will result in a chemical reaction that shoots the candy up to 20 feet in the air, resembling a geyser? Of course you did....


So did Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz. The 2 guys created a wildly popular video of this phenomenon, so popular that it has currently been viewed over 4 million times, and has so far earned the pair over $25,000 in revenue from having it hosted on Revver.
Ah the beauty of the Internet. Grobe and Voltz are instant celebrities(and $25,000 richer), while Diet Coke and Mentos are getting a ton of free publicity. Thus the fairy tale ends and everyone lives happily ever after, right?
Not so much, it seems. Because you see, while Mentos is absolutely loving the free exposure, Diet Coke would just as soon all this extra attention go away. Even more confusing, Grobe and Voltz are also mad as hell.
Mentos' reaction? "We are tickled pink by it," says Pete Healy, vice president of marketing for the company's U.S. division.
As for Coke? "It's an entertaining phenomenon," said Coke spokeswoman Susan McDermott. "We would hope people want to drink [Diet Coke] more than try experiments with it." She adds that the "craziness with Mentos ... doesn't fit with the brand personality" of Diet Coke.
In other words, 'stop playing with our product, and start drinking it, dammit!'
Here's what I said in Part 2 of my 'Marketing With Your Community' series back in March:

I prefer to think that our goal as marketers is to clear a path for the consumer. The consumer will eventually reach their destination with or without us, but the value we bring to the equation is to help the consumer reach their destination as effectively as possible. We can't clear a path if the consumer is leading us. And if we get too far ahead of the consumer, we lose the ability to accurately anticipate their path.
So we walk with the consumer. If the consumer leads, our ability to clear their path is diminished, which doesn't serve the best interest of the consumer. If the marketer leads, then our ability to understand the consumer is diminished, which means our ability to understand which path they will take is lessened. And that's not in their best interest either. It also doesn't help us.

Coke is breaking this marketing rule by trying to lead their community. When your community is enjoying your product, and having a positive experience with it, the LAST thing you do is come out AGAINST their behavior!
On the other hand, Mentos is walking WITH their community, and clearing a path for them. Mentos values the publicity their company has received so far as worth 'over 10 million'. Mentos saw that their community was enjoying their product, so they have now created a contest which will award prizes for the best 'geyser' video! So Mentos noticed that their community was enjoying their product, and 'cleared a path' so they could do so more easily.
A perfect example of what to, and what NOT to do when marketing with your community. Accept their direction, and walk with them to make it easier for them to reach their intended destination. Do NOT attempt to impede or stop their flow.
But what about Grobe and Voltz, who created the viral video that's so far earned them over $25,000? What's their beef? Well, it seems that the lads are mad as hell because 'bootleg' copies of their video are showing up on YouTube and other video-sharing sites, which means they are NOT earning revenue from these 'bootleg' copies.
As I said on the Garden, the boys need to worry about finding a way to EXTEND their 15 minutes of fame, not wasting their spotlight in a lawyer's office. The more sites showing their video, the more exposure for them. They need to leverage and ENCOURAGE the spreading of their video, as a way to increase exposure for THEM. Stop arguing with lawyers, and get on the phone with Leno and Letterman.
Mentos is clearing a path for their community, while Coke, Grobe and Voltz are throwing up roadblocks. Not too hard to pick the eventual winner, and the eventual losers, out of this group.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier