How A Single Off Comment Can Derail Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

April 27th, 2010 by

In a real time environment tracked by both friend and foe, social media can be both a blessing and a curse for your business.  On one hand you get to quickly spread your latest marketing campaigns to a large number of followers at the click of a mouse.  On the other hand if that same marketing campaign rubs someone the wrong way, you may be left with an unwanted mess on your hands.

In a recent back-to-school campaign for Crayola crayons, the company announced on Facebook it was taking steps toward making the planet healthier. In that same message they said, “…the school tools that kids love and teachers trust will also win the approval of Mother Earth.” What followed would completely derail their efforts and later force them to take down the message.

Less than 15 minutes later one of Crayola’s Facebook followers would blast the company for “promoting paganism” by using the term mother earth and would ultimately create a train wreck of comments from brand supporters and “Mother Earth” haters alike.

Thanks to Angie Haggstrom for the screen cap

In the end numerous Facebook fans would rally against the commenter, forcing Crayola to remove the Facebook thread completely.  Since the takedown the company has not replaced the information with anything new about their 2010 campaign, which ultimately takes away some of the reach the social campaign may have had.

When engaging in social media marketing this is unfortunately a prime example of the sad reality of how even the most miniscule things can derail your social media efforts. In the past angered consumers would have to rally up enough troops to truly have an impact on your marketing campaigns, but on the social web their voice can be heard instantaneously and potentially be seen by thousands leaving businesses to quickly play cleanup so as not to stir up a much larger controversy.

What are your thoughts on this? Did Crayola do the right thing by removing the post and its comments, or do you think they could have left it up and simply chimed in regarding their usage of the term “Mother Earth”?

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One Response to “How A Single Off Comment Can Derail Your Social Media Marketing Campaign”

  1. Rebecca says:

    The first comment, that came across blasting it as paganism, said that the announcement was doomed and it was only a matter of time before it would be taken down. Even in this day and age, when people are espousing openness and acceptance, religion doesn’t fall into that category. The other comments only made it worse, turning potential for discussion into a personal attack.

    One thing Crayola could have done (and man, am I a weasel for thinking like this) is have used the “Mother Earth” remark to make a comment on new packaging, etc,. perhaps featuring an image as of a smiling planet, or some such. They also could have jumped in with remarks on how this product actually helps, pulling up some of the statements in their press release and throwing that in.

    As far as the comments got, though, Crayola really couldn’t save themselves. They had to take it down.

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