There’s been a lot of BzzAgent hatin’ lately, so I’ll try to bring something new to this conversation.
Have you been following the Folgers Home Café hubbub on the BzzAgent Blog?
If not, I encourage you to read the thread as it is fascinating to hear stories from BzzAgents and their experiences with a rumored-to-be faulty coffeemaker manufactured by Black & Decker but associated directly with Folgers.
A little background is needed. Folgers has signed up with BzzAgent to generate word-of-mouth for their Home Café brewing machines which use pods to brew single-servings of coffee. BzzAgent then sent a Home Café machine, coffee pods, and a BzzGuide to targeted BzzAgents. BzzAgents are to read the BzzGuide, brew some coffee, and then talk about the virtues of the Home Café machine with whoever will listen.
However, this BzzCampaign has not gone smoothly as many BzzAgents are not happy with the performance of their Home Café machine.
On the BzzAgent blog, BzzAgents tell stories of how the Home Café machine leaks water, emits smoke, and brews lukewarm coffee. Some even share that they’ve returned their Home Café machine to Wal-Mart for store credits of over $50. And, some of those who have returned their machines for store credit are fake buzzing the Home Café machine.
Ouch! I am quickly losing what respect and trust I have left for BzzAgent, the company, and for the word-of-mouth pilgrims known as BzzAgents. How could BzzAgent endorse a product wrought with so many issues? And, does a company really want freebie-lovin’ and cherry pickin’ customers (i.e. BzzAgents) to be their so-called evangelists.
As a marketer, I would exhaust all efforts to create ‘genuine’ buzz using the Creating Customer Evangelists playbook before going the BzzAgent route to create word-of-mouth.
However, to BzzAgent’s credit, this is all playing out in a very transparent way on the BzzAgent Blog.