Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.

You’ve heard of advertising influencing people. But have you heard of people influencing advertising? Check out how that works on this billboard, sponsored by Jell-O Pudding:


It’s called the Pudding Face Mood Meter. The smile brightens or dims based on the number of happy or sad emoticons used on Twitter. The more smilies used, the happier the Pudding Face. The more frowns that are tweeted—well, old Pudding Face turns glum. And when the meter hits less than 50 percent happy, Jell-O kindly hands out coupons in a random act of kindness.

Now, studies have long shown that mood is contagious. So will billboard viewers catch the melancholy from Pudding Face, causing them to post depressing tweets adorned with sad faces, which will cause another dip in the Mood Meter?

And what if Twitter users joined forces to keep the Mood Meter below 50 percent to take advantage of Jell-O’s kindness? Will those who deceitfully post sad faces in their tweets be responsible for a nationwide epidemic of depression?

All this makes me wonder about the message my own face reports to the world. If I had my own little Mood Meter, I would be much more aware of the contagion—whether happy or sad—I’m spreading about. The message I send via my face says something about what I know of God. And the last thing I want is to send the wrong message about Him.