Is Everything Hunky Dory? Examining the Social Media Response to a Crisp Campaign


This is a copy of an article I wrote for Digital Times and appears in their latest edition.

*To view a larger version of any of the statistics below, simply click on the image*

On the week of the 26th April 2010, Largo Foods launched a new advertising campaign for their crisp brand, Hunky Dorys. The campaign which featured on billboards and bus stops, and had it’s own dedicated micro site, centered around images of girls in bikinis playing rugby, and was accompanied by suggestive tag lines, including “Are you staring at my crisps” and “Tackle these”. The images were shot in Miami by Walter Iooss Junior, a well-known photographer for Sports Illustrated. Within days, the campaign had caused controversy among the Irish public, with opinions divided on the campaign. O’Leary Analytics has looked at the coverage the campaign received in social media in Ireland and highlights some of the key results:

Day by Day:

Hunky Dorys Day by Day Coverage

It is very clear Hunky Dorys generated a lot of talk in social media in the weeks following the campaign launch, relative to where they started. For the days leading up to the launch, there was no mentions of the brand in social media in Ireland. Over the proceeding three weeks over 291 comments were made in a variety of social media outlets in Ireland mentioning the brand.

Social Media Types:

Hunky Dorys Social Media Types

Message boards and forums, including and, saw the greatest concentration of social media mentions with 127 posts mentioning the brand. Twitter was second, followed by other media types (including news sources) and lastly blogs.

Gender Profile:

Hunky Dorys Author Gender Profile

From a total of 291 comments, over 45% were written by men, 26% by women and in 29% of cases it was unknown.

Author Popularity:

Hunky Dorys Author Popularity

The popularity rankings are based on a number of independent ranking systems including Technorati, Compete, Alexa and Quantcast. For Twitter, the number of followers, following and posts are taken into consideration when calculating popularity. Over 23% of those talking about the Hunky Dorys campaign had a popularity ranking of five (out of ten) or higher.


Hunky Dorys Sentiment

Sentiment is calculated using an algorithm to look for positive or negative tone and in this sample, the results have been manually cross referenced for accuracy. Of the 82 mentions where sentiment is expressed, 48 are negative while 34 are positive.

Theme Graph:

Hunky Dorys Theme Graph

The theme graph is created by analysing the content of the results from the search and is displayed in a cloud chart. This represents the main ideas of the conversations. The larger the word, the more often it appears in the content. On a positive note, the word “good” appeared 58 times, while “great” appeared 32 times. However, negative content appeared far more frequently. Words including “sexist” (58), “exploitation” (34), “horrendous” (25) and “offensive” (23) – and perhaps most worryingly from the brands point of view “rape” appeared 26 times.


According to, the Hunky Dorys campaign cost approximately €500,000. However, following over 300 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) from members of the public, the advertising campaign was withdrawn only weeks after it was launched, and the microsite has also disappeared.

All of the statistics detailed above relate to coverage in social media in Ireland, but the campaign was reported on, and talked about, across the globe. While many may conclude that the campaign was a success, based on the amount of coverage it generated, the tone and sentiment analysis would suggest that much of the coverage was negative. It is impossible to argue that the Hunky Dorys brand profile hasn’t increased, both in Ireland and across the globe, and no where is this more clearly demonstrated than in the increased level of discussion in social media. However, the ultimate success or failure of this campaign, or any for that matter, will be calculated in the sales figures. According to this article from The Irish Independent there has been an increase in sales since the advertising campaign. Whether this growth can be sustained, remains to be seen.

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