Posted by Abe Sauer on March 9, 2011 11:00 AM
Well, this is uncomfortable. Hong Kong-born soy sauce and food brand Amoy is attached to a Facebook app that allows people to Asianate themselves. British marketer Gavin Marshall asks on Twitter, "Is this the most inappropriate use of Facebook by a brand yet?" It's certainly one for the social marketing hall of shame.
Perhaps even more bizarre is that Amoy invites users to give themselves an "Urban Asian look" and yet uses the body of a sumo wrestler — perhaps a nod to its Japanese ownership. Oddly, it appears that the Facebook page and app was created by Amoy Netherlands in support of its urban-skewing brand website and a Twitter feed (untouched since August).
Amoy is a global food brand that was acquired by Japan's Ajinomoto Group in 2006. Amoy describes its brand thusly:
For the past 100 years, Amoy has led the charge in introducing the world to exciting Asian foods. Founded in Southern China, our commitment to quality and authenticity has helped to earn our reputation of excellence throughout the global foodservice community. Our products are made to exacting standards using century-old traditional Chinese recipes.
We will chalk this up to getting "lost in translation," and a social marketing stunt that Amoy probably wants to close down as soon as possible. As Facebook app marketing goes, this one's short for appalling.
Shades (groan) of Vaseline India's face-whitening app.
(3/10 update: The offending FB page has been taken down — and we're still waiting to hear back from Amoy).