Jell-O Tries Out Edgy Social Media Campaign

Jell-O launched an ad campaign last week called Fun My Life, which piggybacks off the profane Twitter hashtag #FML. Advertising consultants are divided over whether the campaign is brilliant or crosses the line of good taste.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Jell-O is jiggling up the Twitter-verse.

NPR's Travis Larchuk reports the wholesome brand has an edgy new social media campaign.

TRAVIS LARCHUK, BYLINE: Jell-O's classic commercials end on these five letters...

(SOUNDBITE OF JINGLE)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) J-E-L-L-O!

LARCHUK: But on Twitter, the company's pared it down to just three letters, F-M-L.

According to Jell-O's new Twitter campaign, that stands for Fun My Life. But on the Internet, F My Life is already a popular expression. Except the F usually stands for a different, more profane word.

For instance, someone might tweet: Three flat tires in six months, FML. Not really language many people would associate with products once represented by family-friendly comedian Bill Cosby.

Todd Hjermstad is Jell-O's senior brand manager.

TODD HJERMSTAD: It's a really fun brand. And so, you know, FML, being in the public lexicon as some times that maybe aren't so fun, we took those as a chance for us to use the fun of Jell-O to turn things around for folks.

LARCHUK: On Twitter, reactions to the campaign range from delighted to disgusted.

Helayne Spivak is managing director of Brandcenter, the advertising school at Virginia Commonwealth University. And she used to work on Jell-O's advertising near the end of the Cosby era.

HELAYNE SPIVAK: Oh my God, I wouldn't even think that word in my head when I was working on Jell-O.

LARCHUK: But she says she admires the company for taking a risk.

SPIVAK: I could love it or I could hate it, but as soon as it's successful, I'm going to say it was absolutely brilliant.

LARCHUK: Jell-O says the campaign will continue through the mid-June.

Travis Larchuk, NPR News.

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