On Sunday 22nd September, Ariana Grande brought her much anticipated ‘Sweetener World Tour’ to Dublin’s 3Arena for 3 sold out shows. Her tickets sold out within 3 minutes on release clearly showing the hype and popularity she has gathered in the past year after the release of her ‘Sweetener’ album and return to the music scene following the devastating Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 at her concert. As a massive fangirl or “stan”, if you will, I was counting down the days until I got to sing my heart out to her endless bops and just stare in awe at the biggest pop star in the world today (in my opinion however, if you disagree I can’t guarantee I’ll listen to your argument).
Upon her arrival and stay in Dublin, the media were in a frenzy reporting on the anticipation for last minute tickets and any glimpse people got of her roaming the streets of Dublin. It was fair to say, there was much excitement in the air and after scrolling through my Twitter feed that weekend, I stumbled across a tweet from Cadbury Ireland and it’s clear they were really TRYING to get in on the hype with a little shameless PR stunt.
Cadbury Ireland’s tweet on Ariana’s opening night
After reading this tweet and staring at it for a few minutes, I had mixed reactions, none of which were positive may I add but, I feel the most appropriate way to explain how I felt is best depicted with memes.
- Initial reaction
If I’m honest, when I first read the tweet, I thought it made no sense. What is the relevance between a box of roses to Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank u, next’? In what world do we gift our exes a box of chocolates for the pain and life lessons they’ve given us? What is this weird point they’re trying to promote? I had too many questions for what was clearly meant to be a quick promo for a box of Roses and once, I figured out the message they were aiming for, it seemed a bit lackluster. In my opinion if a company wants to quickly promote a product or message through social media, it should be smart and easy to understand and a lot of the time, memorable for good reasons. This tweet on the other hand left me scratching my head like a lot of other Twitter users in the thread.
- Follow up reaction
This meme really depicts my follow up reaction for a few reasons. As mentioned before, I am a Ariana Grande fan but, I’m pretty sure over the past 2 years, without even being a fan of Ariana’s, a lot of people are very aware of what has happened in her life and what led to the creation of ‘Thank u, next’.
After reading Cadbury Ireland’s tweet, it’s imaginable that the person who came up with the idea has a 12 year old niece who was going to one of the shows and despite not really knowing much about her, it was all they were hearing about from young people so, they might as well post a ‘relatable’ tweet to stay relevant with the current hype.
My main observation though was that 0 research was done and there wasn’t much knowledge on Ariana. The reason behind my assumption being that there was no regard for the insensitivity towards suggesting Ariana should have gave her exes a box of chocolates when,
- Her ex Mac Miller, whom is mentioned in the song tragically died from a drug overdose and
- Her ex-fiancé Pete Davidson struggles with his mental health and openly discussed suicide following calling off their engagement.
Both of these incidents inspired Ariana to write ‘Thank u, next’. She commemorates them for the life lessons, love and pain that they’ve taught her and ultimately allowed her to take time to love and focus on herself.
Taking all of this on board, I feel Cadbury Ireland’s social media team could have taken a better approach to engaging with Ariana being in Dublin. I understand it was likely an attempted light-hearted joke however, when promoting your products and making links to celebrities, songs, events etc. I believe it’s always necessary to have an understanding of background details like the above and to use these links with the appropriate context.
When carrying out PR work you are always trying to influence opinions and behaviours positively however, without research and knowledge on the message you are promoting, it appears less credible, sloppy and in this case a bit distasteful. Looking through the thread, twitter users were providing nothing, but negative feedback aimed at Cadbury Ireland’s marketing team, which is evidently not what their goal was.
Initially I was wondering was I overreacting and perhaps looking too deep into it however, the tweet didn’t perform overly well, with the general reaction in the thread reflecting my own thoughts.
I began to look at Cadbury Ireland’s other tweets to gauge whether this is how their social media team usually portray themselves however, I was quick to notice that their other tweets were consistent in their social media voice and tone. This is what you expect from a company when they are interacting with their audience online. This made it all clearer that this Ariana plug was a spare of the moment thought and confirmed my assumptions that they were trying to stay on trend by feeding into the hype around current events.
So, on that note the only question I have left for Cadbury Ireland’s marketing team is…
Marie-Claire Leung is a final year Bsc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found at: Twitter – @MarieClaireL_PR and LinkedIn – Marie-Claire Leung