What’s worse than losing your Chapstick?

So what’s worse than losing your Chapstick?

Losing your audience’s trust.

By now, you might have heard about the controversy sparked over Chapstick’s latest advertisement (pictured above). Their advertisement wasn’t well-received by everyone, which is not unheard of. There have been many ads that have suffered some sort of backlash from consumers for being inappropriate. However, the biggest issue here wasn’t with the ad itself, but with how Chapstick chose to deal with the negative comments on their social media platforms. Ignoring a problem until it goes away may or may not work with bullies in middle school, but when you’re a public brand dealing with less than favorable commentary on your new ad campaign, it’s clear that deleting unwanted negativity won’t do anything but make the problem worse.

Chapstick missed out on a social media opportunity by reacting in the way that they did. From my perspective, being transparent and open to criticism from your public will show that you’re not just a company looking to make money, but you actually hear what your consumers are saying about you. As we have learned from a social media disaster from Domino’s a couple of years ago, the best way to deal with negative attention on the internet is to address it directly. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse.

Public relations professionals at Chapstick might have addressed the concerns of their public in the same way their consumers were expressing distaste for their new advertisement: using their social media vehicles. Had they written a blog post explaining their reasoning and confidence in their advertisement, it might have changed the minds of a few of their naysayers, or at least opened the doors for conversation to show that the consumer had been heard. In the end, maybe it might have been smart to pull the ad. Unfortunately, because they tried to ignore their problem and pretend it didn’t exist, they drew negative attention to themselves that pretty much forced their hand. By the time they finally addressed the controversy, it was too late and the damage had been done.

Most of us know how much people love to complain about things. In my opinion, the advertisement wasn’t offensive and was actually very relatable (I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my Chapstick over the years!). If the issues were addressed sooner, or if descending voices hadn’t been silenced, I think it could have been the start of a great campaign for Chapstick. It’s just too bad we’ll never see it grow.


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