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Noticias Como Arroz / Bad News Spreading as Rice

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On May 2017, fake news videos, published by a variety of sources, appeared on the Internet accusing rice brands of selling plastic rice.  

Among those accused was Arroz Diana. MediaCom was tasked with the objective of containing the mediatic crisis to prevent a negative impact on brand health metrics.  

The videos showed how the rice was burned turning brown and black and emanating a plastic smell. More than 15 million views and 45 million impressions were generated from the different videos in just three days. All these videos were monitored and analysed by the team offering the client the best solution. 

The Internet has become a source of fake news. Due to low educational levels, the public does not have the criteria to decide whether the news is real or not.   

A second key insight, is the fact that in Colombia, people beliefs can be influenced by celebrities, high profile people and journalists. 


The agency crafted a 100% social media strategy with a "surgical" approach.   

Although 85% of negative conversations were driven against Arroz Diana, the brand made a key decision to assume the crisis in silence. Instead it leveraged industry voices, influencers, journalists and other high profile personalities to respond to the industry crisis.  


During the crisis, Arroz Diana never made a public statement on the plastic rice accusations.   

Brand communication only focused in responding doubts and attacks in the brand´s fan page. MediaCom's execution focused on three key pillars: 

1. Identification of relevant communities: Through careful monitoring of social media, key communities with high reach among housewives and the gastronomy communities were identified.  

2. Partnership with the rice guild to send a message of trust to the public. 

3. Created a content seeding strategy in state companies (validators), politicians, scientific experts, media and influencers. 

Social influencers and opinion leaders such as Jessica de La Peña, RedMujeresxElMundoAmo Ser MamáLaNuwe and Wiki Mujeres (largest women social media closed group in Facebook and one of the most influential women communities in Colombia and Latam), to start a campaign with the hashtag #NoComoCuentoComoArroz (#IDon’tEatFakeNews IEatRice). The hashtag played on the local expression used when people say that they “don´t eat fake news” but they eat rice. 

These women attracted other women who joined the movement in defence of the brand, the guild, and the industry. Simultaneously, the agency also started seeding content that was generated by the INVIMA (Local sanitary state department), El Tiempo (Colombian top digital and print newspaper), among other communities and relevant media. 

Very quickly the hashtag was a trending topic and it turned over the negative conversations into positive, thanks to the activation of the conversation of love brand consumers. 

Often, social media more intelligent strategies are the ones that are full of tact and prudence, and not necessarily the ones that are full of branded content. 


Five main media companies that attacked the brand and the guild took down the fake news and published INVIMA’s press release thanks to this content seeding strategy. 

More than 150 million impressions of positive conversations as a result of the influencer strategy activation plan. 

56 million impressions generated with the #NoComoCuentoComoArroz hashtag, 11 million more than the negatives ones.  

12 TV news programmes demystified the fake news. 

Brand health metrics were left unaffected. 

Arroz Diana was not affected in terms of sales due to the social media crisis.  

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Arroz Diana
May - May 2017
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