Newbie News: Thoughts From A PR “Noob” on ChapStick!

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Ok people, let’s talk about ChapStick … the original lip-balm. Old school, but always a classic, right? What could ChapStick possibly do to upset you?

The other day I read an article about a communication meltdown that happened on ChapStick’s Facebook Page.  I was amazed that they handled the situation so poorly. Also, I wasn’t satisfied with their “apology” afterward.

Here is a quick rundown (please read the article for more in-depth info):

ChapStick posted an ad of a girl bending over, looking for her ChapStick in the couch. Some people were offended on what it seemed to represent and commented on what they didn’t like. It kept getting bigger, and the attacks started on ChapStick. Rather than addressing the comments or even deleting the photo, ChapStick proceeded to delete  the comments with the opposing and negative opinions (oh no!).  You can imagine this didn’t go over so well, so the fans and bloggers went wild!  Did I mention that ChapStick has a campaign ad called “Be Heard” going on right now?

Cutting to the chase here, for a company that wants to “hear” their fans, why would you delete their questions and comments? In fact, they let their fans know that they didn’t really care about what they said at all. In the end, no one remembers the “offensive” picture, but they do remember ChapStick’s disregard of their fans’ opinions.  And as for their apology … “We apologize that fans have felt like their posts are being deleted…” and “…we never intend to pull anyone’s comments off our wall…” Ummm…What? I’m new at this, but as brands struggle to become more personable, isn’t it better to ‘fess up like to what you did, apologize and promise to work on improving … like a person?

Guess it’s a plus for Burt’s Bees and Carmex!

I learned from some of my first courses in PR that transparency is always the best policy. The public always appreciates when a brand communicates with them. Even though fans did not like the ad, ChapStick could have done some crisis communication and avoided the whole crash and burn.  Address it, don’t delete it.

So there you have it, thoughts from a PR “noob” on communication.

Danielle K.