Ridiculously, you probably do know that yesterday (February 5) was World Nutella Day – the subject was trending all day on Twitter and has been embraced with gusto by the national media, with Nutella recipes and fun facts being published right, left and centre.
What is the point of Nutella Day? Is it the anniversary of the eureka moment when someone first mixed chocolate and nuts? Does it raise money for charity? Or is it nothing but a marketing exercise? Apparently it is now the latter – having been founded by amateur chocolate spread enthusiast Sara Rosso in 2007, World Nutella Day has now been taken over by Ferrero, the Italian chocolatiers who make it.
Although it is entirely pointless other than as a way to sell more Nutella, the Day has been embraced all over the world, with its own website featuring more than 700 recipes involving Nutella, Facebook and Twitter pages and a Flickr pool for people to share photos of their Nutella creations.
What lessons are there here for other brands and causes? Nutella has a natural advantage of being held in great affection by its fans, and people are not being asked to do anything difficult or unpleasant – make something with Nutella or eat some straight out of the jar and post a photo of it online. But the people behind World Nutella Day are definitely on to something with their coordinated social media approach based around lots of drool-inducing photos, and holding the Day at one of the most depressing times of year when demand for warm chocolate recipes probably peaks.
By way of contrast, today is the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, which, unlike Nutella, is a subject that does deserve time for reflection and its turn in the media spotlight. Despite the subject’s prominence in the UK news this week because of the collapse of the first prosecution for FGM, this Day has so far failed to show up as a Twitter trend. Perhaps the more pointless your Day, the better.