Grey Poupon shows you can breed exclusivity on Facebook

It’s not often that a mustard brand is held up as an example of groundbreaking marketing, but Kraft’s Dijon mustard brand Grey Poupon’s latest Facebook activity is a lesson in how to make exclusivity work on social media.


Exclusivity and social media do not go hand in hand. Social media is the great leveller, bringing access to brands that were previously the domain of the rich and famous to everyone.

Broadly speaking, in social media terms, more is better. More fans, more followers, more exposure. Not so if you are Grey Poupon, which is restricting Facebook Likes to those people it deems to have good taste.

The brand will screen Facebook fans that have Liked the brand using an algorithm that takes into account music, film and book taste, location check-ins and correct use of grammar.

If users don’t cut the mustard as it were, their Like is rejected and they are asked to polish their profile and try again.

It might jar with some people that will say ‘who is a mustard brand to decide if a person has taste’? It is, after all, unveiled snobbery. But let’s not take it too seriously. It’s a sharp idea engineered with tongue firmly in cheek.

It’s human nature that we all want to be part of things and belong. This herding instinct is what makes social media tick. Being on the outside looking in is no fun and so Grey Poupon is making being a fan of the brand something desirable and sought out rather than just another meaningless click.

There’s nothing like limiting supply to inflate demand, and a trick like this could easily be employed by retailers looking to go beyond generic Likes.

The reality of Facebook Likes for brands is that while consumers may click the button, they very soon lose interest and it is just as easy to unsubscribe from a brand’s posts or hide their updates as it is to Like them in the first place.

Grey Poupon’s scheme guarantees that those people who have been admitted into its Society of Good Taste, as the brand calls its Facebook membership club, all want to be there. They will be interested, they will want to engage and they are more likely to pick up a jar of the stuff next time they’re in the supermarket.

Many brands use Facebook to disseminate “exclusive content” or behind the scenes footage from events to drive interaction. But if anyone can access Facebook and see the content, it’s not really all that exclusive.

With a scheme like Grey Poupon’s, brands can use Facebook to really can offer exclusive benefits to some users, while interacting more generally via its wall.

I say all this despite being denied access to Grey Poupon’s Society of Good Taste on the grounds that I’m not classy enough. The algorithm they use must be broken, however, despite the affront to my cultural sensibilities, I stand by the judgement that the concept is clever and one that retail marketers could learn much from.

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