Chapstick Backlash – Can’t Claim to Listen if You Are Not

Posted by Maggie in brand | Marketing | media | product

Ok, I admit it made me laugh.  And I do have a friend who loses at least one Chapstick a day, but outside of the two of us it appears the Where do Chapstick’s Go campaign has Pfizer hoping it would just go away.  Why?  They didn’t stand behind their offer to listen and they went into what AdWeek called a “social media death spiral.”

It wasn’t the semi-offensive creative that sunk the campaign (though it got folks talking), and it really wasn’t the fact that consumers don’t wonder where their Chapstick went (not a good problem solution approach).  It was the fact that they asked for our opinion and then didn’t listen.  In a world where marketing and communications has to be about a dialogue with the
consumer, this campaign opened up the dialogue and tossed it back in the consumers’ face.

As we have seen by other social guffaws this year (I won’t name them to open up old wounds), there is a right way and a wrong way to respond and listen.  Those that have done it right – and you know who you are – got through the 1.5 days of backlash hell
and have moved on to building the brand alongside their consumers.  Chapstick’s response while accurate was late.  And their removing of campaign commentary simply said they didn’t want to hear from the people they invited to the conversation in the first place.

What would Suzy Chapstick think?

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