Posters on the Hail Corporate sub-Reddit routinely call out companies for attempting to manipulate the site and its mammoth, eager-to-share user base into spreading ads and marketing messages in the form of photos. They look for certain signs — posts by first-time users, conspicuously displayed labels — as indicators that the adorable picture of a cat in a sneaker may just be an attempt to get people to share the photo of that particular brand of sneaker.
Last week, the folks at Pringles seemed to be getting a lot of attention from Hail Corporate, where users raised questions about:
–The obligatory cat-in-Pringles tube photo, which was actually posted by someone with the username “paidbypringles,” apparently poking fun at all the Pringle-related accusations.
Given that it’s much cheaper than an actual ad to post a photo on a free website and hope it spreads like wildfire, it is well within the realm of believability that a brand would pepper the Internet with these kinds of posts. Of course, as we saw with that Olive Garden incident last month, sometimes what appears to be corporate chicanery is actually a bona fide photo.
For what it’s worth, we asked the folks at Kellogg, the parent company of Pringles, if they had anything to do with these Reddit posts.
“We can confirm that this content is user-generated,” a rep for the company tells Consumerist. “Kellogg Company and its brands always include a company identification on all online posts.”
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy a thirst-quenching Brawndo while I smoke a Red Apple cigarette.