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Social Media Cone of Shame
By: Jennifer Graber
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Not surprisingly, people across the world devote hours upon hours to interacting on social media every single day. We spend countless hours checking into Foursquare, sending out tweets, updating statuses, "researching" old high school pals on Facebook, posting our dinner on Instagram, searching for the next best nail design on Pinterest, and more. Saying we are addicted would not be far from the truth. But when does the presence of an addiction require intervention? Apparently, the answer is now.
In an ironic move, Coke humorously took to social media to declare our addiction. The drink brand said that real life is what begins when our battery runs out, and that should not be the case. Coke urges people to take the social out of media and put in directly back into our daily lives. We need to have more human contact and interaction that does not take place over the digital airwaves. Also, it would not hurt to be drinking a Coke in those delightful interactions, now would it (wink wink)?
But when dealing with this social media addiction, and trying to interact more face-to-face, what is the cure? Coke has the answer for that, too. Coke has developed the social media guard. The social media guard is a product that is designed to keep us away from our cell phones — think along the lines of the dog or cat cone of shame. You know the one; the plastic cone to keep your pet from scratching at those annoying surgical stitches. The guard is large and Coke red, of course, and is meant to keep you focused on real life around you. No need to spend hours on YouTube watching cat videos because you can do it in reality now. No need to text sweet nothings to your partner because now you can go on that fancy date. The cone of shame puts you in your place and keeps your social media addiction in check.
By the way, if you did not realize by now, the social media guard (aka cone of shame) is a faux-product, not real. Too bad, though, as it would likely come in handy in quite a few situations! Many brands have reached out to consumers through social media to discuss its prolific use. The irony is often used in a humorous manner to poke fun at the usage. Is this type of ironic, and humor-based, marketing effective, however? Consumers seem to respond well to situation-appropriate humor, and Coke appears to be within that realm. The brand made a smart, strategic choice in pursuing this avenue of marketing. People are constantly online and are likely to see this clever advertisement for Coke’s product(s). But it is doubtful that it will make a real dent in social media usage. People will still likely be glued to their phone screens. But maybe the whole point was to make us all stop and think, or crave an ice cold Coke.

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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