The Appeton ad: Moment marketing gone wrong and the internet won't have it

MANILA, Philippines – You've likely seen them on your social media feeds: an advert for a brand that rides on whatever is the buzz online and offline. It's called "moment marketing" – literally, because you capture the moment through your ads. 

But when done wrong, it could just as easily be wrong moment marketing. 

Case in point: Appeton Philippines, and their poor attempt to ride on the discussion about bullying. This was after a video of an Ateneo Junior High School bullying a fellow student went viral online. The school has since begun an investigation and public officials, including the Palace, have voiced concern over the bullying video. 

And Appeton? Well, we'll let the ad do the talking.

"Bullied? Never again!" reads the copy of the ad, as if implying that taking Appeton, a supplement for weight gain, will help stop bullying. As of posting, it has over 2,600 shares and more than 1,000 comments. 

While the account is not verified, it was created in 2012 and contains posts about the brand and its on-site events.  

"Bugbog o Dignidad? 5,4,3,2,1...," reads the caption of the post, quoting from the disturbing original video. 

Suffice to say, the internet was not impressed with the brand's poor attempt at riding on the hype of a sensitive and nuanced issue. 

"Whoever is handling this account should take down this post immediately. This is an insult to the marketing industry which should be exercising responsible advertising. As a child-oriented product, you have an obligation to encourage good values and not promote the complete opposite! I am so appalled that the marketing team of Appeton approved this kind of content! And this is so disappointing for whoever created the content as well. You should definitely re-evaluate your marketing strategy and company’s core values," said Ysabel Castro in a comment. 

"This is how you destroy your brand, folks – by piggybacking on an extremely sensitive matter to gain relevance," said Marc Paredes. 

"Appeton, this isn't cool. If it hasn't been said already, it makes you sound like you are celebrating bullying culture to increase your sales. This isn't a meme. A kid got hurt. Do the decent thing and take this down," added Michael Palacios. 

The post seems to pin the responsibility on the bullied party – as if gaining weight and bulking up is a fool-proof solution to bullying. 

Several public officials have called for sobriety amid threats to the safety and life of the bully in the video, who himself is a minor. Of course, there are public officials who haven't been as calm. (READ: Amid calls for sobriety, Locsin says beat the Ateneo bully)

The Appeton post, which was put up on Friday, December 21, is still on Facebook as of posting. – Rappler.com