“Man I really want girl scout cookies ppl….. U juss dnt understand…..”
And so the cry goes up on Twitter and Facebook as people all over America begin craving those Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs. It’s Girl Scout cookie time and this year those little green moppets will be using social media to help them hawk those over-priced boxes of sugary joy.
The whole marketing concept behind Girl Scout cookies is pretty amazing. By releasing the product only once a year, they’ve cleverly created a seller’s market. It’s not just a box of cookies, it’s an event! The first Girl Scout cookies were sold in 1917, but the tradition as we know it goes back to the 1950’s, young girls going door-to-door, or setting up tables at the local shopping center, selling bakery-made treats. And it’s still being done that same way today but with a twist – social media.
To aid the annual cookie sale, The Girl Scout Council has set up a dedicated Girl Scout Cookie website where you can enter your zip to find a local seller and a fan page on Facebook. They also have their own YouTube page which already has 67,000 upload views and a MySpace page, which sadly only has 35 friends. They also have a general Girl Scouts Worldwide Twitter feed and many troops have their own social media pages.
The official Facebook Fan Page has 67,000 friends split between people selling and people looking to buy. Here’s the rub, though the Girl Scout Council supports online chatter, they don’t allow online sales.
In the past, future online-marketing mavens have tried setting up websites and even auctioning cookies on eBay, but once discovered, their sales were disallowed. Why? The GS Council says that the annual cookie sale helps teach kids how to handle money and run a business, but why does it have to be a “money box and card table” store? The official website doesn’t say why but my only guess is for safety reasons.
The online marketing guidelines for Scouts says that a girl must be over 13 and that she may not send out any identifying information other than her first name. No location, no troop numbers. Also, emails must be issued through a blind address that keeps the child’s name hidden.
While I applaud the Girl Scout Council’s efforts to keep their kids safe while online, this is the same group that encourages young girls to knock on a stranger’s door rather than sell to him anonymously over the internet. Where’s the logic in that?
Looking to buy cookies in your area? Just get out your iPhone, because of course, there’s an app for that.