Wal-Mart's marketing initiative with rapper Pitbull didn't go quite as planned, but the social media buzz around the campaign is definitely getting the retail giant some attention.
Wal-Mart and Sheets Energy Strips partnered with Pitbull on a social media contest that will send the rapper to whatever Wal-Mart location gets the most “likes” on its Facebook page by July 15.
However, the founders of the website Something Awful, David Thorpe and Jon Hendren, created their own social media initiative. The duo launched a Twitter campaign with the hastag #exilepitbull to get people to vote for the Wal-Mart in Kodiak, AK.
So far, more than 63,000 users have liked the page for the Kodiak Wal-Mart. While many expected Pitbull to get irritated with the prank, he tweeted to Thorpe that he's welcome to come to Alaska with him. The rapper has also joked about the campaign, tweeting, “I hear there's bear repellant at Kodiak, Alaska @walmartspecials.”
Even though the campaign hasn't gone as planned, Wal-Mart has gained tremendous press from it, bolstering its number of Facebook likes and getting young Pitbull fans and critics talking about its stores.
Wal-Mart is also responding positively to the incident. Spokesperson Sarah Spencer said: "I know Pitbull is hoping his Miami Wal-Mart shoppers start liking their Facebook page.” She added that if Kodiak wins, Pitbull is definitely going to Alaska to visit the fans there.
The company is handling the situation perfectly. Rather than not comment or get upset when a campaign goes awry, or someone “hijacks” it, the best option is to go with it and make it even more fun for consumers.