I decided I need to add some sort of regularity to this blog, and instead of feeding it a Jamie Lee Curtis-promoted yogurt, I came up with Thirsty Thursdays. On Thursdays I will post any interesting blog posts, tweets, articles, or anything else that people thirsty for marketing/PR insights would (hopefully) be interested in reading.
On today’s list: Chapstick. Yes, instead of writing about Kim Kardashian, I’d rather talk about Chapstick…it contributes much more to society. Chapstick posted an ad of a woman climbing up over a couch with her butt up in the air and the phrase “Where do lost Chapsticks go? Be heard at facebook.com/chapstick”. (if you click the link above you can see the ad). Well of course some people with dry lips and no sense of humor got angry at the ad and decided to share their opinions on the FB page, which Chapstick promptly DELETED.
There’s quite a few things that make this a PR disaster, but for me the number 1 is the fact that their ad campaign is based on fans sharing their Chapstick experiences and “being heard”, which is not something you can do if your comments get deleted. As I’ve learned in my advertising class, (and what I guess we all sort of know) is that a LOT of time and thought goes into EVERY aspect of an ad. Some college kid didn’t just stand up and say “hey, let’s do an ad with a picture of a butt on it! It’ll be hilarious” Chapstick researched their audience, especially their customers on Facebook and determined that this was their type of humor and that it would have an impact and that their tagline about FB would encourage brand engagement; they just weren’t ready for negative engagement.
Someone at Chapstick dropped the ball when it comes to their social media planning. While they may have chosen the ad based on target research, they had to have known that they were taking a little bit of a risk with this ad and should have had a social media management plan ready. When people did start to really dig in with unfavorable comments they should have either removed the ad or made a statement in defense of it and let the comments be. Instead they sneakily removed angry comments and then after that made the further mistake of hiding it behind the curtain of “Facebook guidelines” on inappropriate postings and spam. Again, once they’d made the taken the risk deleting the comments and gotten backlash, they should have stood behind their actions (at the very least, although it would not have been the best idea) or fessed up and gave their audience a real apology.
Lesson to be learned? If you’re going to push the message of “be heard with our brand” then you have to be ready to hear bad things. You can’t erase them and pretend they never existed, this is NOT transparency.
On the topic of things that I love and can’t live without (I’ve been painting my blue tube of Chapstick on my lips throughout the writing of this post), Canadian band Our Lady Peace has been getting some fan backlash after their recent participating and support of the Occupy movement. As someone who’s been obsessed with OLP for a very long time, who loves ALL of their music, I really don’t understand how a person could call themselves a “fan” and have no idea that they’re a band with certain political viewpoints and humanitarian beliefs. I mean, have these “fans’ actually LISTENED to any of their songs??
I personally think that OLP has done a wonderful job of capturing the feel of the movement in their video and free download Fight the Good Fight available at ourladypeace.net (sorry, I just couldn’t resist a plug for them). The band has always been transparent in sharing their personal politics and organizations that they support. While some of the backlash has come from people accusing them of being part of the “1%” but out of any musician/celebrity figure getting involved in this, OLP is the perfect balance. In 2007 they left their record label, taking a huge risk of falling into obscurity to start producing themselves on their own terms, starting with their 2009 album “Burn Burn”. Lead singer Raine Maida is a vehement supporter of War Child and Drummer Jeremy Taggart has been very vocal in protesting the digging of a Mega Quarry northwest of Toronto that would drastically effect the agricultural and environmental wellness of the area and hurt the Toronto area’s water supply and in participating in FoodStock, a fundraiser to help prevent said Quarry.
I think that writing a song and promoting it as a free download on their website was a perfect way to explain their involvement in the Occupy movement. The video was tastefully done and as Raine points out in the article “And Maida admits that it has occasionally been difficult for observers to figure out exactly what the protesters are opposing, noting that the “right language hasn’t gotten out there yet.”"
Those are my thoughts for today, I hope your thirst is quenched for the time being. And go download the OLP song please, they really are fantastic.
**UPDATE*** Here’s a Op Ed written by Raine to the Globe & Mail .
There’s such a stong focus these days on brand transparency that a brand risks quite a bit when it tries to hide even small things. While I hate to use the word “brand” when describing OLP, they do have an image and a message that they put out in their music and their actions and movements they support are aligned with it. So if you’ve been paying attention, nothing that they do should come as a suprise.
Here’s a blog post from Ryan Shell, Senior Manager at Ketchum about Brooks Brothers fessing up to their mistakes instead of going the Chapstick route and ignoring them. http://blog.ketchum.com/corporate-reputation/owning-mistake-can-protect-brand-and-make-consumers-happy
You are absolutely correct ! I’ve been a fan of this band for 15 years and cannot understand how anyone that considers them self a true fan is not aware of Raine’s activism or the band political and social awareness. Music is a creative outlet for expression. The guys have been using it convey their thoughts on a variety of issues for years. The music industry, presidents, wars, cancer…. I could go on.
I’m extremely proud of Raine, Duncan, Jeremy, and Steve for being outspoken about what they believe in and attempting to make the world a better place. Some people would rather have their favorite bands make music that’s catchy and means nothing. “Shut up and make music” is what I’ve read a lot of on FB and that’s just sad. Musicians are people like the rest of us and have the right to express their beliefs. They aren’t cramming their politics down our throats or telling us what to believe… they’re simply asking what we believe and all they expect is for us to share in a way that is mature and tactful. They certainly aren’t the first group of musicians to ever join in protest over something they believe or to contribute a song to the cause.
Fight the Good Fight and I will be right there behind you!
Even if a fan does not personally believe in Occupy or any of the other movements/organizations the band supports, they still should realize that it’s a PART of the music. To say “shut up and go play music” is impossible. For these musicians the two actions are mutually exclusive.
The point I was trying to make with this post as it relates to PR through reputation/brand management is the idea of transparency and being true to your message. Chapstick saying “be heard” and then deleting posts is NOT matching up to their message. This is not a case of Britney Spears all the sudden supporting an abstinence campaign. There is nothing that someone who’s listened to the lyrics and followed the bands interests would be surprised by. Besides, music IS political and it IS revolutionary (look at any contemporary classical Russian composer ). Wikipedia, (the source of all knowledge right?) even has a whole page on music and politics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_and_politics