Can you Cut the Mustard? Grey Poupon turns away Facebook Fans Who Can’t

Here’s a unique Facebook advertising campaign: actively turn away fans to make your Brand Page feel exclusive.

It may seem entirely counter-productive to block potential Facebook fans from liking your Brand Page, but that’s exactly what Grey Poupon, high-quality mustard merchants, have chosen to do! In order to give their Facebook presence an air of exclusivity, Grey Poupon won’t accept new fans until they’ve passed a “Good Taste” test to see if they cut the mustard!

If you’re keen to join the 24,000 strong fan following, you’re going to have to apply through a membership application through the brand’s page. Agreeing to its terms lets the app scan your Facebook profile in order to determine whether your tastes are refined enough to join the Grey Poupon Facebook elite.

How does it know if you measure up? The brand’s exact criteria for “Good Taste” are unknown but the app gives you a score based on your friends, interests, recent activities and even your writing style. If you meet Grey Poupon’s exacting standards, then you can join to classy mustard-loving upper echelon! If not, your application is denied, though you are encouraged to try multiple times “once you’re feeling tasteful again”.

Tom Markham, executive creative director who manages the Grey Poupon Facebook page described how they believe that the value of attracting engaged Facebook fans outweighed the risk of alienating others:

“It is definitely counter-intuitive, but it came from a place of seeing a lot of very clichéd brand pages on Facebook that all kind of look the same and are desperate for fans. We based our Facebook Page on quality over quantity.”

Even from a quick perusal of Grey Poupon’s page, it appears that the application process is a successful tool for encouraging fan engagement, as its Timeline is full of newly approved members gleefully announcing (some more modestly than others!) their success. With this kind of interaction occurring right from the moment they become members, Grey Poupon’s fan following appears to be more valuable than your average brand that is desperate to attract likes for the main purpose of spreading ads.

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As a long term social media strategy, attracting the right kind of Facebook fans is more important than simply amassing likes. Engaged fans who genuinely feel that it is worth their time to check on your Facebook activity; to share, like and comment on it, are significantly more valuable than the Facebook users who click “like” on a whim and never return.

It is this first type of fan who can ultimately become a “brand ambassador”, the Holy Grail of social media marketing, as they share their experience with your brand in a wholly positive way with their network of friends.

Grey Poupon’s approach may be a turn-off for people who feel offended by their denied application, as well as those who don’t want to jump through hoops to simply “like” a page. However, if 8 years of Facebook’s history have taught us one thing, it’s that social media users love validation. Making them feel part of a worthwhile, exclusive social community may well have netted the mustard brand a very valuable and marketable Facebook fan following. By making everyone undergo an application process to become accepted, Grey Poupon is pre-qualifying its fans, creating a cleaner database of genuinely interested users who will be easier to convert to action in the brand’s subsequent marketing efforts.

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