Water You Doing, Poland Spring?

Poland Spring blows its big chance


Who’da figured that the star of last night’s political events would not be Barack Obama, but instead a tiny little bottle of water from Maine. As you’ve likely heard now, in the middle of the GOP response to Obama’s State of the Union speech, a parched Marco Rubio reached awkwardly for a half-pint of Poland Spring. Befitting of the circumstances, the internet basically peed itself with delight.

Let me pause now to say that I love Maine. Were I to rank the top 50 states in America, Maine would have to be at the top, right behind dear old Massachusetts. It is a place where the moose roam free and the Zumba instructors-turned-prostitutes sit in jail. It is Vacationland. Part of that great northern state’s charm is that it feels somehow rooted in the past—resistant to change, in that rustic, log cabin sort of way. Sometimes, though, there’s a downside to that. For instance, it seems unclear whether Poland Spring—longtime slogan: “What it means to be from Maine”—actually has the internet. At the moment, its website is non-functional and, between its two Twitter accounts, Poland Spring only has about 800 followers and hasn’t tweeted in over two years. As Jared Keller points out over at Bloomberg Businessweek, that has left the company totally unprepared to capitalize on its moment in the zeitgest sun. Keller writes:

This could have been a big moment for Poland Spring. In recent months, major broadcast events have proven to be golden opportunities for brands to engage in social marketing, capitalizing on ready-made (and accidental) memes and push their message into users’ Twitter and Facebook feeds with a properly-timed message. Some of these instances are easy to plan—Chevron promoted a tweet on the official #SOTU hashtag—while others, like Oreo’s much-discussed ‘dunking in the dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl’s brief blackout, required a quick response from a marketing team ready to pounce.

For what it’s worth, Poland Spring does have a Facebook page, with over 208,000 “likes” on it. It hasn’t mentioned l’Affaire Rubio yet, though. As for Rubio, he was willing to have a laugh at his own expense, posting a picture of the offending water bottle on his own Twitter feed last night. Now that’s good marketing.