Poland Spring Proves It's No Oreo

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 13 2013 2:23 PM

Poland Spring Proves It's No Oreo. Lucky for Them, They Didn't Need To Be Last Night.

Poland Spring's PR team is trying to make up for lost time after it remained noticeably silent last night at a time when Marco Rubio left Twitter atwitter over his rather awkward gulp from a tiny bottle of their water. As Fast Company explained this morning, the company's response didn't just leave something to be desired, it left everything to be:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

[T]his was the Twitter equivalent of catnip. But the Poland Spring Twitter page? Nothing. Not a drop of anything—actually, there hasn't been a drop of anything since July 26, 2010, as CNET helpfully pointed out. The same went for its Facebook page, with people helpfully pointing out that here was the best—no, the best—advertising opportunity for Poland Spring, and why weren't they capitalizing on it?
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Well, 12 or so hours later, Poland Spring has finally gotten into the game, posting this photo to its Facebook page, with the caption: "Reflecting on our cameo. What a night!"

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Photo courtesy of Poland Spring

As my colleague Will Oremus pointed out in the wake of the Super Bowl blackout, "at a time when most brands are so bad at social-media advertising that royal screw-ups are the norm, the bar for a Twitter campaign to be considered a smashing success is about knee-high." Because of that, it took only a competent-but-by-no-means-extraordinary social media reaction from Oreo when the lights went out in the Super Dome to earn heapings of praise from business reporters, along with 16,000-odd retweets from those watching at home.

The secret to Oreo's success was a combination of both the timeliness of its response, and the fact that said timeliness was quickly trumpeted loudly to—and then subsequently by—reporters. Clearly, Poland Spring checked neither of those boxes last night. Fortunately for the water company, in this particular instance, they didn't need to. Rubio's poorly timed gulp was different than the Super Bowl blackout because the former specifically involved a product while the latter did not. (For the two marketing opportunities to have been similar, I suppose, Colin Kaepernick would have had to be snacking on a few Double Stuffs on the sidelines during the blackout.)

So while Poland Spring's PR team may have been asleep at the wheel—or left scrambling to remember their social media passwords—the product itself was (literally) front and center, and instantly began trending on Twitter all by itself.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

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