You may have heard about ChapStick’s recent Facebook gaffe surrounding its latest ad campaign, but in case you missed it, here’s a quick recap. ChapStick posts an ad with a rear-shot of a girl leaned over the back of her sofa searching for her missing ChapStick. The ad reads, “Where do lost ChapSticks go? Be heard at Facebook.com/ChapStick.”
The photo strikes a nerve with some people. Someone blogs about it and then posts a comment on ChapStick’s wall. More people chime in, and suddenly, their comments are deleted, too. ChapStick later responds with an apology, attributing its action to complying with Facebook’s guidelines “to remove posts that use foul language, have repetitive messaging, and those that are spam-like and are menacing to fans and employees.”
ChapStick’s PR faux pas has made headlines (and not the good kind), with stories from MSN Money, PRWeek, Adweek, and social media bloggers. Yikes. So, what can we learn from this unfortunate situation? Well, for starters, deleting fan activity is risky business. This whole mess could have been put to bed had the social media team simply addressed the issue (and its offended fans), and immediately deleted its “offensive” post, instead of its fans’ responses to it.
We advise our clients all the time to think before you delete. Facebook fans can (and will) post negative comments or complaints about your product or service. And while it might really chap your you-know-what, deleting them could make matters worse, case in point.
Sure, no one likes to be on the receiving end of negativity, especially on Facebook for the whole world to see, but unfortunately, it happens. But instead of sidestepping the situation, look at it as an opportunity to demonstrate your company or organization’s commitment to its fans, which are your biggest brand advocates.
ChapStick is owning its mistakes and planning a new ad. A recent post on it’s Facebook page reads, “As we continue to share the new ads that are part of our bigger campaign, we want to mention that the campaign is intended to include fun images that reflect the way many of our fans have told us they feel about ChapStick®. We realize we haven’t done the best job of keeping the communications channels open, and we promise we’ll do better! We’re aware of the discussion going on across social media, and we’re listening. We love our fans and adore your passionate voice around ChapStick®. We want to share with you that we chose to pull one additional ad in the campaign based on the feedback we received this week, but it may still show up in very few magazines. Now……please take a look at this new ad and let us know what you think.”
What else could be done to help save face? Perhaps free ChapSticks for all who like the Facebook page?