At first it looked like this would be a case of another brand dramatically misjudging its Twitter marketing strategy by way of a terrible hashtag. This week Jello introduced a promotion where the brand wanted the Twitterverse to send in ways Jello could make their life more fun by using the hashtag #FML. Now to those not versed in the acronym arts, FML is a longstanding term people have used to vent their frustrations about something going wrong. In short, “F*&k My Life.” Which Jello flipped into “Fun My Life.”
— JELL-O (@JELLO) May 29, 2013
Remember when then-Research in Motion ended job posting tweets with the regrettable #rimjobs? Or McDonald’s #McDStories that ended up being less about the local food producers it was meant to put a spotlight on and more about obesity and bandaids in burgers? Soon after the Jello post went up there were cries of FAIL coming from a lot of corners… until it became clear the wobbly snack peddlers knew exactly what they were doing.
It’s a bold move, to be sure. Even a casual glance at some of the stuff posted with #FML and it’s easy to see why this would give most CMO’s the flop sweats. But I think this works for a few reasons. First, the brand’s identity is so entrenched in feel-good earnestness that it would be almost impossible to really tarnish it. And even if they did, just bring back Bill Cosby and all would be forgiven. On the other hand, dipping its toe into the Twitter zeitgeist by wearing such a recognizable and funny hashtag gets a lot of people who long forgot about Jello to stop and think about Jello. All while having a laugh or two and maybe even getting stuff like a Zen garden or whoopee cushion mailed to them.
It might not be a guaranteed win-win, but it’s more FTW than FML.