Horsemeat Scandal Gets Virgin Media Neighing

2013-02-10 by EPR Staff

virgin horse

Amidst the UK horsemeat burger scare, some savvy marketers at Virgin Media decided to capitalize on the momentum, with a spoof apology poking fun at Tesco and the like. For those of you who missed the news in January, a safety watchdog has blown the whistle on Aldi, Iceland, Lidl and Tesco in the UK for allegedly selling frozen beefburgers with traces of horsemeat. The scandal is far from being over: on February 7 Findus joined the accused, for beef products that allegedly contained up to 100% horsemeat. The whole charade is continued by Virgin Media, whose latest stunt involves a spoof apology to customers.

To disseminate the news, Virgin Media used Twitter and an image:

Virgin Media Spoof

As some of our TiVo customers may have noticed, when searching through our tailor made collections of topical on-demand films, the collection, entitled #Mooovies, which promised a rich selection of films starring cows, did in fact contain films primarily featuring horses.

As expected, the company managed to trigger some interest from Twitter users, but failed to grab enough media attention for its stunt to matter. The only UK media company reporting in-depth on the matter was Digital Spy. This was followed with a short report by The Drum, but the rest of the mainstream publications seem to keep quiet. There were hardly 300 retweets for the spoof apology, still, a good number, considering that Virgin Movies has less than 4000 followers. The engagement ratio is very good, and the public reactions on Twitter, largely positive:

The list goes on.

It’s a bit puzzling that this little stunt hasn’t triggered more media mentions – where do you think things went wrong? Was Virgin Media supposed to send a mass email to journalists and customers to get even more attention? Or is this approach the best way to go?