Online grocery store went to great lengths to pull a bad April Fools’ prank
Here’s a lesson for all other brands out there: don’t pull an April Fools’ prank two days before the actual day — else don’t blame anyone if it backfires.
Just look at honestbee.
honestbee is an online grocery store in Singapore and just yesterday (30 Mar) they uploaded an advertisement on their Facebook page, alerting everyone of their new promotion:
Wait — what? Exotic meats like minke whale meat, koala sausages, tiger’s tail, panda breast meat and komodo dragon egg? Their controversial advertisement sure has gotten many fooled.
To be fair to the online grocery store, they did try to allude their fake advertisement to April Fools’ at the end of their post (deliveries to be made on 1 April only is such a giveaway) but their followers were too enraged by how distasteful and insensitive the joke is.
honestbee created a website just to pull this April Fools’ joke
honestbee has since cleared the air and claimed they pulled this prank not only for April Fools’ but also for a cause.
They made a website to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trading, and the sale of exotic meat was just to attract the public’s attention.
Here is what honestbee is trying to convey on their website:
Illegal wildlife trade is a US$19 Billion a year industry. And this has to STOP. NOW.
To conjure up feelings of anxiety, a pseudo store was created to suggest that meat of whale, panda and others were sold but instead… These were actually fun-size snacks like dry fish fillet an hello panda.
honestbee’s confusing campaign
While it may be a refreshing way to conjure raw feelings from the public for their campaign to be successful, some people are still unsure of their motive.
People are unconvinced because they are not sure if honestbee truly wants to help conserve the wildlife or if this is just another marketing gimmick.
Upon entering the fake Explorer Joe Exotic Meats webpage, customers will be greeted with this:
And if you click “Give Now” thinking you could help some lions, it redirects you to their online grocery store.
Of course, these tactics honestbee use — regardless of raising awareness or advertising for their store — infuriated the public because they felt that honestbee was making light of a real, existing problem at hand.
But to their credit, honestbee did provide real links at the bottom of the webpage for people to help some endangered species.
According to TODAY, a spokesman from honestbee said “on the backdrop of April Fool’s Day, and rather (than) another meaningless prank or joke, we wanted to create something that is meaningful”.
While their intention might be to spread a positive message, the campaign was rather poorly executed and shifted the focus away from saving the endangered species. Instead, most are now questioning the company’s ethics.
The people honestbee wishes to engage with
honestbee said they wanted their campaign to be “controversial enough” to spark a conversation with the public.
The emotions we evoked (were) real and raw, we hope this conversation can be taken further to drive that serious awareness to support these endangered species.
Needless to say, this campaign drew flak and netizens were up in arms:
Most of the netizens who commented on their Facebook page were more annoyed at honestbee’s campaign instead of focusing on the illegal wildlife trading problem that is ongoing.
As much as honestbee is trying to create awareness in an unorthodox manner, a confusing campaign defeats the purpose of highlighting illegal wildlife trade.
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