Innocent Drinks Ireland became inundated with requests for stickers and magnets recently following a viral Tik Tok. Amber Baxter looked at this bizarre phenomenon.
“One morning I woke up, I think it was a Friday. I went on Facebook first and there was a couple of notifications saying hi my name is [xxx], I love your brand and I was just wondering do you have any stickers?”, said Laura O’Connell, Innocent Ireland’s Brand Manager.
O’Connell manages brand campaigns for Innocent Ireland and all of the brand’s social channels in Ireland. The brand has 5000 Instagram followers, 15,100 Twitter followers and 80,481 likes on their Facebook page. “Those numbers don’t necessarily correlate with the engagement that we’d have,” she continued.
O’Connell continued to receive the “strange” requests throughout the day and had to contact her counterpart in the UK Office to clarify the situation. “I said hey weird question, have you had people asking you for stickers? She just sent me back a laughing emoji!”
The situation had arisen from a request in the UK. “What had happened was that a girl messaged the UK side and I think she just said I love your brand could I have some free stuff?”, Laura said.
“Generally, as a brand we tend to try and be as sound as possible when we can but sometimes, we just can’t. We can’t give free stuff to everyone all the time, we wouldn’t have a business model otherwise.”
“What happened was there was just a mistake in the fulfilment, with the place where the stuff is kept over in the UK. Rather than just sending out a few bits they accidentally sent out a whole load of magnets”.
According to the now viral TikTok, the brand had accidentally sent out 700 magnets in the package.
The mistake wasn’t noticed until the TikTok had been posted and the requests for stickers, magnets and other merchandise started to appear. “We had about 250 message requests on Instagram along with a few on Twitter and through our helpdesk,” said Laura.
O’Connell replied to every message herself and in some cases included a joke about a “badly drawn logo” being the only thing they could offer as everyone is working from home currently. She explained how there was a template answer to the requests: “It’s a policy that we really try to get back to all of our drinkers no matter what the request, because we just really believe in talking to our drinkers.
“My template answer was we’re really sorry but we’re working from home at the moment, the best I can offer you is a broken biro, a tea bag or a badly drawn logo. I was just kind of joking but about 80% of people got back to me saying yeah, I’ll take a biro or I’ll take the badly drawn logo or anything you have”.
The response to the message led to Laura sending out about 20 ‘badly drawn logos’ the first day. “The UK said that they might just allocate the 1000 magnets that they had left and do a send out but I thought, look, this is funnier and way more ridiculous if we send out this badly drawn logo so we set up a link [for people to apply for a logo]”.
The brand manager then spent 3 days handwriting different notes and drawing the company’s logo for each request in what was a busy period of planning for another campaign.
“I really enjoyed doing it; now my hand was very, very sore at the end of it and I went through a lot of stamps, but the response was really nice. People were taking photos with their badly drawn logo or actually framing it because one of the jokes was ‘go find a picture frame’ for it.
“I’m really happy because I can say that we have responded, whether we said we can give you something or not, we have responded to every last request. The really nice thing is that there were so many people used to reaching out to brands and used to getting no response at all, and then got back to us and said wow I didn’t even expect an answer. Giving people a really honest, organic response and having a laugh was something I was weirdly proud of coming out of 2020 with.”
A month after the incident, now known as ‘magnet gate’, Laura is still receiving new requests every day.