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3 Hot Takes: Stand Against Social Media, Delivery App Fees, and Poor Personalization

This week, it’s all for good (or is it?). A global brand opts out of social media. Franchisees of the world’s largest pizza company help their competitors. And, finally, a good lesson springs from poor personalization by an animal hospital.

Lush says no to (some) social media (again)

Lush made headlines recently with its new Global Anti-Social Media Policy. The cosmetics brand announced it would no longer post to four of the largest social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Wait, haven’t we heard that before?


In March 2019, Lush “switched off” social media, encouraging its audience to engage with its staff and with individual stores’ social media accounts, its website, and the Lush Labs app, according to Vogue Business. When the pandemic hit, the global brand’s digital team returned to social channels to reach customers when in-person wasn’t possible.

Now, the company is at it – or off it – again. “Social media was not designed to look after people’s health, but our products are. It’s counterintuitive for us to use platforms that keep you hyper-tense, engaged, and anxious,” Lush chief digital officer Jack Constantine said in the article.

The company could take a hit by taking this stand – an estimated $13 million in the short-term from direct sales on social media (about 0.5% of total sales), according to company executives. But Lush is exploring alternative ways to engage them, including investing in its YouTube presence, creating a dedicated email for customer feedback, and an active page on Reddit started by fans (with more than 70,000 members).

@LushCosmetics could take a short-term $13 million hit by walking away from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. But it’s already planning other ways to engage via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

HOT TAKE: Lush’s decision attracts a lot of attention and reinforces the company’s focus on healthy living. Of course, it earned similar attention for its 2019 move. The pandemic may have prompted customers to overlook its decision to return to social channels. But how many times will they stand with the company if it changes its position again?

There’s one more thing: The brand might want to rethink the name it chose for a new content feature called Lush Stories. According to the Vogue Business story, it’s intended to be a portrait video format similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories that the company will feature in its app, product pages, and website. A quick search for “Lush Stories” revealed the name already being used – by an adult erotica site.

Why Domino’s franchisees helped their competition

It seems like a strange move.

Franchisees of the world’s largest pizza brand gave gift cards for other restaurants in the neighborhood to thousands of their customers. For two weeks last month in Boston, Phoenix, Louisville, Laredo, and Denver, Domino’s franchise owners bought $100,000 worth of $50 gift cards and randomly gave them to their delivery customers. The goal? To encourage people to order directly from restaurants and avoid delivery app fees.

Locally owned grills, taco places, barbecue joints, bakeries, delis, and more benefitted from this campaign to bring attention to the high fees restaurants like these pay to participate in app-based delivery services.

Domino’s shared the news on Twitter and took to YouTube to share stories directly from the restaurant owners themselves. The video racked up over 3.5 million views in two weeks.

HOT TAKE: Domino’s store owners could have gone the obvious route – reminding pizza buyers that they should order directly from the chain, which doesn’t charge for delivery. Instead, the franchisees brought attention to a problem facing fellow restaurateurs in their cities – the sometimes-exorbitant fees restaurant owners pay to participate in restaurant delivery services. It’s a great example of cause-related marketing.

Cause-related marketing example: @dominos franchise owners gave customers $100,000 in gift cards – to other area restaurants via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When personalization goes to the dogs … make sure they’re still alive

A birthday greeting to a pet from the local animal hospital sounds like a nice content marketing tool. Unless their records are terribly out of date.

The VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital sent a personalized birthday wish to CMI’s Jodi Harris for her dog, Mugsy. The email included a link to a video message that used Jodi’s and Mugsy’s names.

But then she received a second email from the animal hospital containing the same video. This time, the video mentioned Jodi and her dog, Jake.

The problem? Jake passed away eight years ago. Yes, EIGHT YEARS.

HOT TAKE: Where to start? Sure, many people have more than one pet. But does sending two emails on the same day with nearly identical birthday messages convey that the clinic knows or cares about her and her pets? Certainly not, given that one has since died. In this case, it might have been better to send a generic birthday email greeting rather than attempting to make it seem personal.

And, as Jodi explains, if the hospital had no record of treating a pet in eight years, it would have been better to send no message than an insensitive one.

The lesson: Pull together all the information you have about a customer before you personalize content – don’t settle for just names, email addresses, and locale. And if you have sufficient data to personalize your content, try to go further than fill-in-name here.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute