Great story on the net this am about Cooking Mama, a video game with a virtual chef, and the attack parody game launched by PETA in protest of meat recipes in the game. In the end, the game's publisher demonstrates exemplary brand authenticiy in their even handed, measured response.
Cooking Mama has already sold more than a million units, pretty substantial for a small publisher. This week, PETA launched an attack on the latest release of the game by creating their own microsite and casual game: Cooking Mama: Cooking Mama Kills Animals. Their hope was and is to sway gamers away from eating meat by using a game parody to lampoon Cooking Mama. In effect, they attacked the game publisher to get their point across.
While more elaborate that throwing blood on fur coats, PETA consistently bares their claws when taking on issues and targets. What's disappointing but not unexpected is that PETA did not contact Majestic with their gripes ahead of launching the microsite and the knife-wielding Mama.
Here's what's interesting: In a great display of brand authenticity, Majestic took the high road in their response to this unprovoked aattack by PETA. Instead of calling their lawyers, seeking injunctive relief, etc, Majestic issued a statement thanking PETA for the publicity, and took the opportunity to highlight Cooking Mama's vegetarian and meat alternative recipes included in the game. Sure, it's reasonable since Mama is a loveable and presumably not-litigious chef in the kitchen. But how many companies can you recall that have shown similar grace under pressure, and behaved so consistently with their customer's perception of them? Given the dollars involved, and the brand character that companies wish they had, most courts are full of lawsuits, countersuits etc over brand squabbles. Obama showed us recently that brand authenticity is living authentically, and it pays huges dividends when you do so.
In an upcoming post, I'll revisit the world of Roomba, the hackable robot vacuum that was one of the earliest and coolest examples of brands behaving consistently with their image.
In the meantime, you'd be happy to know that Cooking Mama has come through this storm looking like a gem. PETA has now issued a statement saying that Cooking Mama has engaged in a fair dialogue with them and will release a vegan title. Can I get a group hug, anyone?