‘Stop shooting people and join our app.’ That’s the message a social app marketing plan seems to want to convey.
I have to admit I was a little put off by Hayy and its social app marketing plan it seems to be using. For the record, I haven’t joined, and frankly, at this point, I don’t intend to.
I saw it on Twitter the other day when it responded to a news story about a shooting.
The tweet, which linked to the platform, read, “Stop shooting now and Download Hayy. social app on iOS. A social network for people who are against shooting other people. Hayy social network is for people with high morals and ethics who can meet, chat, post and video chat with other users.”
At first, I thought it must be a joke.
But when you look at their website, you’ll find this as their “goal:”
A social network for individuals with high morals who don’t curse, don’t drink alcohol, don’t listen to abusive rap, or any music with profanity. Who are against war, social injustice and shooting people.
Too soon or just tacky?
To respond to news reports of a shooting with a promo for your social app seems tasteless to me. Keep in mind, I spent 20 years in marketing. I get it. I understand that marketers look for opportunities to market their product or service.
But when you’re dealing with shootings, including those in which someone’s life is threatened or even lost, that, I think, is not the time to market a social media app. I might think the exception would be if it were specifically a community safety app that could at least offer some consolation from a security standpoint.
Using it to market a social media app for people with “high morals” seems out of place in such a situation, though.
When I worked in marketing, there were certain things we knew not to do. We tried to always avoid even the appearance of exploiting a tragedy.
Would people with “high morals” take advantage of a tragedy in that manner?
How do you define ‘high morals’ to begin with?
I come from a family of gun owners. I even have law enforcement officers in my family. Owning a gun doesn’t make you a bad person. I feel very confident in saying that the majority of gun owners are against shooting people.
However, there may be times — self-defense is the obvious one — in which resorting to shooting a person might become necessary. At the very least, our nation’s laws specify that there are situations in which a shooting might be legally justified. Some people consider obeying laws as a sign of morality. So if you shoot someone in a case of self defense, does that call your morals into question?
Is cursing a sign of low morals? If you drop the F-bomb every other sentence, that might call your manners into question. But where do you draw the line there? Must you speak like a Southern Baptist minister every moment of your life? Are “mild” curse words like damn and hell automatically enough to shoot your morals out the window?
If you have a glass of wine with a meal, do you suffer from a lack of morals? I’ve seen first-hand the effects of alcoholism in my extended family. The definition of “high morals” on the website doesn’t mention “drinking to excess” or “getting drunk.” It says its members “don’t drink alcohol.” Apparently, they don’t drink alcohol at all. Even a glass of champagne, judging by their words, is enough to make you ineligible to join.
Then there’s the mention of “abusive rap.” If you listen to rap that isn’t abusive, can you still join this social network? If so, when does rap actually become abusive? Where’s the line there?
Missing the mark
It’s not easy to market a new product or service successfully. Some marketers still subscribe to the philosophy that all publicity is good publicity. I disagree with that point of view.
When a social app marketing plan rubs someone the wrong way, I don’t happen to believe that it makes people want to download and join the app. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s a segment of the population that’s just high-brow and holier-than-thou enough to respond to that kind of ad in such an inappropriate time.
I guess I’m not one of them.
They have a right to choose who joins and who doesn’t, and they have a right to decide what their internal rules are. More power to them.
I’m happy with the levels of morals I possess, whether such a social network would want me as a member or not.