In Walgreens' latest ploy to get customers to switch to its
namesake plan, it formulated this promoted tweet: "@Walgreens
Patients should be able to choose their pharmacy, not
@ExpressScripts. Tweet using #ILoveWalgreens to show your
This approach -- crisis PR via paid tweet -- has elicited two
types of responses. The first come from those pointing out the
ineffectiveness of convincing customers of anything through a paid
@JaredKaltwasser Is it just me, or is the trending topic
#ILoveWalgreens basically worthless if the company bought placement
on the trends list?
@LilJon WHY IS TWITTER SUGGESTING I FOLLOW @WALGREENS
@MattDho Why is #ilovewalgreens a trending topic? Oh, promoted.
Never mind then.
The second are those completely unrelated to the pharmacy
portion of the Walgreens business:
@RadicalSierra #ILoveWalgreens because they are the only store
that sells Jujubes lol :D
The retailer also used Social Spark, an outlet that connects
bloggers with sponsorship opportunities for a percentage of the
fee, to infuse its message in the blogosphere. Each blog outlines
similar points defending Walgreens and admonishing Express Scripts.
And most of the coverage comes with an intro along the lines of :
"This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for
SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine."
Most of these blogs, including Formula Mom, Random Deals and Life With Katie, discuss pricing
related to Walgreens' new Prescription Savings Club and a
program supporting the military.
Leveraging this blurry area of paid social media in its crisis
efforts is a bold move, but the chances that it will convince
customers to switch plans through scripted blogs and tweets are
slim, and could even backfire among those who view it as
"It's another way to get the conversation going and give our
customers an outlet," said a Walgreens spokesman. Regarding some of
the negative reactions, he said, "It's an opportunity for people to
express their feelings, and they're doing that ."
Walgreens is conducting the effort without a CMO, as the role
was eliminated last September, Drug Store News reported at the
What do you think: Is Walgreens' use of paid social
media in its battle with Express Scripts going to hurt its cause or