Rabat – Morocco’s social media impact has been tested for the past two weeks in an unprecedented economic boycott of some of Morocco’s most popular consumer product brands. #Boycotters is a trending hashtag that represents the widely spread boycott of the brands of three major popular Moroccan companies.
The French majority-owned Central Danone and Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès, owned by Holmarcom, and AFRIQUIA GAZ, owned by the Akwa Group, are losing this digital battle that has been sweeping Morocco for the past two weeks.
The backlash of the boycott has caused the shares of these companies to plummet as the angry boycotters continue to control their message and focus on their target companies. In a poorly planned attempt to absorb the crisis when it started, an executive at Central Danone insulted the boycotters and called them “traitors” in a video. He later apologized and was presumably fired by the company after he made the situation even worse for Central Danone, whose hashtag #LetItSpoil targeted the company and its dairy products.
It was rumored that Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès lowered the prices for some of its brands for fear that the boycott would spread to other companies and brands owned by Holmarcom. Without any strong digital strategy to respond to the boycott, this was used as an attempt to contain the crisis. The price decrease was reported to have reached 20% to 55% in the last twenty-four hours. The prices were slashed by 20% off the popular brand Sidi Ali, which was targeted in the boycott, and were reduced even more for other brands, such as Bahia. However, Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès still lacked a proper social media response and exhibited no proper digital communication strategy about the boycott.
In a continuously defiant response to the boycott, Afriquia has neither issued an apology nor lowered its prices, despite a 6% loss in its shares. In an attempt to regain investors’ confidence in the midst of the crisis, the gas and oil distribution company owned by the Akwa Group published its results for 2017 two days ago. The company reported making a 24.2% or 4424 million Dirham increase compared to 2016, distributing dividends of 125 MAD per share. The company, run by the strong Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch, remains silent in the digital sphere, displaying no efforts to contain the ongoing boycott.
In analyzing the Moroccan boycott crisis, it is clear that the social media campaign in support of the boycott, spread by ordinary citizens, is far more successful than the actions of the corporate entities in Morocco. The boycott crisis will mark an important milestone in the history of media in Morocco, as the boycotters exposed corporate Morocco’s lack of preparedness. They are causing large losses in corporate profits and are disparaging the professional profiles of executives in some of Morocco’s largest companies.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial views.
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