Guest

Brand Bullying: A Tale of Ragu and Social Media

By: Guest | October 4, 2011 | 
245

Today’s guest post is written by Michael Schechter.

Last week, C.C. Chapman blogged about the latest example of poor social media marketing – Ragu Hates Dads.

The brand had reached out to him on Twitter with a campaign that admittedly is in pretty poor taste, and C.C. took to his blog to respond.

It wasn’t the fact that he felt the need to call out their failure that caught my attention (and I certainly don’t argue that it was a failure), it was how he went about it that stood out.

The tone of his first post was excessive and I think we can all agree that going out and buying FURagu.com may be going overboard (no, seriously, he bought FURagu.com and redirected it to his post.). Ragu tried something and they failed. Hopefully they learn from the experience but do we really need to make them pay?

When we start by ripping a brand a new one, we aren’t encouraging them to learn. We are encouraging them to get the hell out of this space. I know this is their nightmare scenario. It is the reason they do not want to embrace social media. They live in terror of any negative review, nonetheless a scathing one from a top-tier influencer.

I have to imagine that the big brands feel the same way, especially when you consider they are a much juicier target.

We live in a time where the power is clearly shifting from brands to the consumer, but let’s not get carried away. All of these so called internet “kerfuffles” are great blog fodder and are perfect for the next keynote speech, but they rarely affect the long-term bottom line of a business (anyone flying Southwest Airlines less? Avoiding Nestle? Wearing less Kenneth Cole? Refusing Motrin? Didn’t think so…). This latest “tempest in a teacup” feels like an attempt to turn Ragu Dads into Motrin Moms rather than an effort to help a brand to do a better job with their marketing.

The real story here is that while there is the potential for a better balanced relationship between buyer and seller, things are still in flux. Brands are yet to fully understand the power of platforms that their average customers now possess (and by average consumer I really mean a person with a massive following and a high Klout score) and influencers can occasionally go a bit too far in their criticism…

To my fellow brands

Be prepared. At some point, someone is going to set their sights on you. At some point you are going to screw up. At some point you will deserve it. I feel your pain, but you are going to have to take smarter chances and frankly, you are going to have to become better companies.

Take the time to test your ideas offline before you go live. In the case of Ragu, if you want to connect with dads, talk to as many as you can before you attempt outreach (and while you’re at it, don’t use Twitter spam to do your outreach). By having these conversations in private, you’ll avoid heading in a wrong direction and won’t make your missteps in public.

On the days that you do try something new, be present and stay on top of things. If someone is being abusive, you don’t necessarily have to engage them in public (just make sure to connect privately as Ragu did). You don’t want to underestimate the power of an influencer and if you hope to leverage their platform, you better take the time to show them some respect.

To influencers

I have to ask, is this really how you want to use your power? Don’t lose perspective and don’t become a bully. Brands genuinely WANT to work with you, but this is going to be a bumpy road for most of them. They’ve done things a certain way for a long time and now the ground has moved underneath their feet. They have to change, but the learning curve is steep, so please try and be cautious with your criticism.

Take the time to ensure the tact you take is in proportion to the actual offense. Your blog can, and will, cost people their clients and possibly even their jobs. If you really want to help, worry less about looking for failures for your next keynote speech or the next chapter in your book (it makes some of us question your motives…).

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to call out brands who slip up, that you shouldn’t use the same platform that the brands themselves hope to leverage when they fall short. I’m just asking if this is the best way to go about it if we have any hope of encouraging businesses to participate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not interested in joining a conversation that starts off by telling me how stupid I am and I can understand why Ragu wasn’t either.

So, how do we play nice in this brave new world? How can brands be smarter in their outreach and how far should influencers go when they feel that they’ve been wronged?

Michael Schechter is the Digital Marketing Director for Honora Pearls, a company specializing in freshwater pearl jewelry. He writes about all things digital over at his blog.

  • Thank you for this. I cringed when I read that. To me, it’s the equivalent of going directly to Twitter to badmouth a restaurant when they haven’t seated you as quickly as you would have liked, before having gone thru the proper OFFLINE channels first. Twitter +Smartphone = deadly combination, and the power goes to our heads. Same with a blog if you have any sort of following.

  • MSchechter

    @KenMueller We see this every now and again with our own brand. A customer will lash out in a forum or social before even giving us a chance to service their customer. It’s an emotional experience and I understand why they do it, just wish they give the brand an opportunity to step up in private before lashing out in public.

  • MSchechter

    @KenMueller We see this every now and again with our own brand. A customer will lash out in a forum or social before even giving us a chance to service their customer. It’s an emotional experience and I understand why they do it, just wish they give the brand an opportunity to step up in private before lashing out in public.

  • MSchechter

    @KenMueller on the plus side, if you step up for your customers enough, they will step up for you as well. Just as often as those kinds of angry comments pop up, another customer will jump in to tell them how we’ve helped them in the past.

  • This is a case of poor research. Had Ragu’s agency reserached CC and Digital Dads, the agency would have seen this type of campaign really isn’t appropriate for him. Would you pitch (tweet) all-beef hamburgers to a vegan blogger? No. Would I expect to see an angry blog post from a vegan blogger after being tweeted something like that? Yes.

    If CC wasn’t directly engaged by Ragu, went on a soapbox and chose to just sound off, I would agree that he’s being a bit unfair. But we, as PR and marketing professionals, can’t lay blame on influencers when it’s obvious we didn’t do our homework.

  • This is a case of poor research. Had Ragu’s agency reserached CC and Digital Dads, the agency would have seen this type of campaign really isn’t appropriate for him. Would you pitch (tweet) all-beef hamburgers to a vegan blogger? No. Would I expect to see an angry blog post from a vegan blogger after being tweeted something like that? Yes.

    If CC wasn’t directly engaged by Ragu, went on a soapbox and chose to just sound off, I would agree that he’s being a bit unfair. But we, as PR and marketing professionals, can’t lay blame on influencers when it’s obvious we didn’t do our homework.

  • @MSchechter I’ve written about this before, and I probably will again…I think part of our job is to also educate our customers and the general public as to how to properly use Social Media. We read about United Breaks Guitars or the Kevin Smith/Southwest story, and everyone wants to be “that guy”. But I agree, it just puts more of a burden on us to do our job better. It holds us more accountable. I tell my clients that 99% of their customers probably leave very happy. We need to tap into that and equip them to be spreading positive word of mouth. When it happens, it’s a beautiful thing.

  • This is a case of poor research. Had Ragu’s agency researched CC and Digital Dads, the agency would have seen this type of campaign really isn’t appropriate for him. Would you pitch (tweet) all-beef hamburgers to a vegan blogger? No. Would I expect to see an angry blog post from a vegan blogger after being tweeted something like that? Yes.

    If CC wasn’t directly engaged by Ragu, went on a soapbox and chose to just sound off, I would agree that he’s being a bit unfair. But we, as PR and marketing professionals, can’t lay blame on influencers when it’s obvious we didn’t do our homework.

  • Great advice for brands and influencers. We consumers have an opportunity that may not come again for generations, in being able to penetrate through several layers of gatekeepers and influence the way brands huge and minor move. And if we get enough of them to open the lines of communication, they could stay open. Or we could squander it and have to wait decades for another chance to come again, as brands slink away from conversation and opt to use social media as just another place to broadcast rather than interact.

  • I also believe we have to learn to thank as publicly as we bash. @MSchechter @KenMueller

  • MSchechter

    @Chris McNamara There is no doubt that it was poorly aimed and poorly executed. But I still think there is little doubt that CC’s response was disproportionate.

  • MSchechter

    @Chris McNamara There is no doubt that it was poorly aimed and poorly executed. But I still think there is little doubt that CC’s response was disproportionate.

  • MSchechter

    @Chris McNamara There is no doubt that it was poorly aimed and poorly executed. But I still think there is little doubt that CC’s response was disproportionate.

  • MSchechter

    @Chris McNamara There is no doubt that it was poorly aimed and poorly executed. But I still think there is little doubt that CC’s response was disproportionate.

  • @Tinu@MSchechter agreed. I try to promote much more than I bash. I think we need to promote a culture of promoting.

  • MSchechter

    @Tinu I think the change is here to stay. I don’t think brands could “shut down” influencers even if they wanted to. I just think the next few years will determine how enjoyable and mutual those relationships are going to be.

  • The answers to each of those questions possibly could turn into blog posts in and of themselves. I think I’ve found an answer that might work for each one of them: personal responsibility. Playing nice is up to the person, although it can become a community effort through the moderation of comments or people uniting together to say that a certain type of behavior won’t be tolerated. Brands, too, have to be responsible. Do the necessary research, then do some more before implementing a new campaign. The influencers have to take responsibility, too. They can shoot off at the mouths, but what good does that do? Does that bring any sort of enlightenment to their community or to the person or brand that supposedly has wronged them? Everybody offends and is offended at some point. Perhaps we all need to learn to be a little more gracious with each other.

    Excellent post…but how did you receive a return invite to Spin Sucks, @MSchechter ? You weren’t banned after inciting the revolt? 🙂

  • MSchechter

    @Erin F. Apparently a little bribery goes a long way with GIni. I completely agree with you, but the thing to keep in mind is that the influencers are more “fluent” in social. I’m not saying that is an excuse for sloppy work, it’s just more of a fact. It’s also much easier for individuals to make decisions than corporations with multiple tiers of comfort and familiarity in digital. It’s going to be harder and it is going to take time.

    As you said, both sides need to be a bit (read: a lot) more understanding of one another.

  • rustyspeidel

    Reader:

    1. Get a sense of humor!

    2. Be constructive in your suggestions.

    Marketer:

    1. Plan better! Know your audience.

    2. Like Brogan said, don’t phone in social media. Take it seriously.

  • I love this post for a number of reasons but primarily: Because we spend a lot of time here talking to organizations about getting their heads out of the sand and engaging on social media. They talk about their fears of negative backlash, and we say, the conversations are happening anyway. Be there to manage it.

    And to your point exactly; when someone tries something new and it doesn’t work, the over-reaction is enough to send them back to the sand.

    and @Erin F. , we told @MSchechter that if he didn’t get 550 comments like he did on his last post, he’s done.

  • Great post @MSchechter I was unaware of the CC Champan/Ragu situation. I forget who wrote the recent post on knowing your audience and the bloggers you reach out to. I have interacted with CC for over a year on the Twitter. He is a nice guy and a great Dad. And of course this would offend someone who is championing Dad equality when it comes to raising kids. Last year his daughter decided to try being vegetarian. Instead of being ‘Old School Dad’ the type Ragu is targeting he is ‘Nu Skool’ and he encouraged her even cooking dishes for her.

    But to your point here there are two things to take away from CC’s post and your post. Number 1 and I say this over and over and over. No one cares about your brand on social media. In our lives 99.99% of the Brands we buy, use etc we don’t want to see via Social Media almost ever. Sorry to burst the big bubble of Agencies and marketers and VCs who refuse to acknowledge this. Point 2 which is also true (I have blogged about both points). We do want you to be there via Social Media when we are pissed. Or make a nice shout out. But after…leave us the hell alone.

    I always joke to people…do you really ant to talk to Kraft Mac and Cheese on Twitter or Facebook? Really?

  • Great post @MSchechter I was unaware of the CC Champan/Ragu situation. I forget who wrote the recent post on knowing your audience and the bloggers you reach out to. I have interacted with CC for over a year on the Twitter. He is a nice guy and a great Dad. And of course this would offend someone who is championing Dad equality when it comes to raising kids. Last year his daughter decided to try being vegetarian. Instead of being ‘Old School Dad’ the type Ragu is targeting he is ‘Nu Skool’ and he encouraged her even cooking dishes for her.

    But to your point here there are two things to take away from CC’s post and your post. Number 1 and I say this over and over and over. No one cares about your brand on social media. In our lives 99.99% of the Brands we buy, use etc we don’t want to see via Social Media almost ever. Sorry to burst the big bubble of Agencies and marketers and VCs who refuse to acknowledge this. Point 2 which is also true (I have blogged about both points). We do want you to be there via Social Media when we are pissed. Or make a nice shout out. But after…leave us the hell alone.

    I always joke to people…do you really ant to talk to Kraft Mac and Cheese on Twitter or Facebook? Really?

  • MSchechter

    @rustyspeidel In cc_chapman ‘s defense, he did offer suggestions after the initial lashing, but the first post killed most chances of the second one hitting home.

    Amen on the marketing bits. Knowledge and intent will take you a long way…

  • MSchechter

    @rustyspeidel in his defense, he did offer suggestions after the initial lashing, but the first post killed most chances of the second one hitting home.

    Amen on the marketing bits. Knowledge and intent will take you a long way…

  • MSchechter

    @Lisa Gerber Looks like we need to unleash the commenting clan if I have any hope of being invited back 🙂

    I can’t help but hope that both the brand and CC learned from the experience… It’d be a shame to see Ragu heading for the sand, but they seem to be course correcting and moving forward.

  • My only goal in life is to build a social media empire so I can crush any brand that wrongs me in the slightest. I hope to be like that kid in “The Good Life” episode of the Twilight Zone who can control everything with his mind, so that brands will cower before me.

    OK, fine, I’ll just settle for making a few bucks here and there. But I can dream.

  • AmandaOleson

    This whole scenario is frustrating. Yes, Ragu should have done their homework better – and they definitely should have thought about how the “dopey dads” implication comes across. It’s offensive- I get it. However, buying FURagu.com and ranting for DAYS about it? Is that how adults behave? No. To me, this is a whole lot of school yard bullying. We tell our kids NOT to do that… don’t we? (Yes.)

    Furthermore, my mother always taught me to never burn my bridges- because you never know when you’ll have to cross them again. How are these days and weeks of ranting about a poorly executed campaign going to look to future big brand clients? Not good, I suspect.

    I think we all need to put our big girl pants on and get over it. 😉

  • @MSchechter I love your perspective. Sometimes, when we really get caught up in ourselves and in the hype that surrounds us, we forget that we,too, had to start somewhere…that we weren’t always where we are now. It reminds me of grade school when there were always those guys who “matured” early and were tall and strong and intimidating. Some of them would use this new found power to create a “leadership” position and reveled in this feeling. But, a couple of years later, the slow growers finally caught up in size…in fact, often they surpassed the size of the once gigantic playground lords. And suddenly, things changed. The kids that had been intimidated were now in potential positions of “power”. We need to be more mindful of how we all have to start somewhere and sometimes, in our growing, we make mistakes…some of them huge but almost always, forgivable.

    Thank you Michael…I always enjoy your posts. And thank you ginidietrich for having Michael come over and play for awhile at your place!

    Claudia

  • MSchechter

    @HowieSPM As far as CC goes. I’ve always admired the way he goes about his work. In this particular case, I don’t think Ragu was looking to be malicious, just misguided. I certainly don’t know him like you do, but his reaction seems way out of whack to Ragu’s offense. I may be dead wrong, but it just feels like that there is a desire to make this bigger than it is. To add content to keynote speeches. As for the second part, I don’t think its that no one cares, just that a hell of a lot less people care than you’d probably like. We do have those who are looking to connect with our company in social and we are grateful for every last one of them. That said, if the primary bit is, “brands we want you to be here for when we want to bitch at you”, why would brands want this?

  • MSchechter

    @JayDolan I look forward to your reign of terror… 🙂

  • MSchechter

    @AmandaOleson I for one LOVE my big girl pants. They’re super roomy and rather flattering. And amen to the rest.

  • AmandaOleson

    @MSchechter Yeah. Big girl pants are SUPER awesome.

  • MSchechter

    @SocialMediaDDS There are going to be adjustments on all sides, hopefully we can stop reacting in this manner. Sometimes it seems as if people just wait for these kinds of slip ups to have their moment in the sun… it’s a shame. I like the idea of maturing at different rates, btw. Hopefully all of this will eventually work its way out of grade school and we can all stop worrying about who’s the biggest and most powerful.

  • What a great post @MSchechter . Social media seems to have given us an excuse to be negative and to tear others (people or companies) in ways we would not have done in the past. Add to that the desire to be the FIRST person to tear something down and we rant before we’ve even checked the facts. I hope that we can find a way to slow down, take a breath and think about others before we take to the social media – or traditional — airwaves. Otherwise, why would anyone go out with a gutsy stand on anything anymore.

  • @MSchechter That is a hard reality, albeit a true one. Perhaps the influencers need to be taken to task a little more often? Okay, maybe not…they’re much more fluent in social than I am and possibly ever will be. I don’t need to be making enemies just yet. 😉

  • trontastic

    I think I’m going to register the domain FUFUragu.com and make sure everyone knows that the original FURagu.com was a bit much.

    One of the biggest hurdles while trying to educate a brand (or herd kittens as it often feels like) on digital is that just because you can do something at the speed of light, doesn’t mean you should. Just as you said, taking the time to test, LISTEN (if you haven’t, go read today’s earlier post from Gini) and make adjustments. I think Ragu could have saved themselves a lot of heartache if they had taken a step back and used some common sense.

    Now, for all those haters out there looking to jump on a brand and create the next digi-fiasco, go find an original way to get yourself known. Let go of the bitterness and grab on to a cold one. It will do us all a bit of good.

    Cheers Mr. Schechter, twas a good read.

  • @MSchechter@rustyspeidel I read the first post and the third one but skipped the second one that offered suggestions. Chapman seemed a little calmer in the final post, but it seemed to be given in a “Farewell, Ragu, you’re toast” sort of manner. He said Ragu would be included as an example of social media failure in future presentations.

  • trontastic

    While I agree for the most part, a blog post on how Ragu messed up would have gained respect, gotten his point across and everyone would have left the situation a better person. Sure, he had every right to respond, I think he just took it too far. @Chris McNamara

  • trontastic

    maybe we should @MSchechter @Lisa Gerber

  • trontastic

    all post @MSchechter @Lisa Gerber

  • trontastic

    Two word comments to increase his comment numbers? :0 @MSchechter @Lisa Gerber

  • I just want to know who at Ragu thought this was a good idea. This is as bad as Marie Callender’s and not telling the dinner guest of the “switcheroo”

    I bet they tweeted at these Dad’s just by going on Klout scores. Does anyone ever do research or outreach anymore?

    I can understand why CC got so pissed. He does all the cooking and shopping in his family from what I have read. I would be offended too. Would I go that far? I really don’t know and neither do you until that situation arises in your life. I am not defending him, I am saying we can’t predict with 100% certainty that we would react one way or another.

    I think executives need to get out of this “now” thing and start doing a much better job of researching who they want to approach. It would save them a lot of heartache.

  • susanoakes

    What you have written makes a lot of sense Michael. We forget that there are human beings working on brands and that means sometimes we get things wrong. Nobody is perfect and by calling this out as you mentioned could cost someone their job and is that worth it? I also noticed in his last post a brand manager had put in a call. My 2 cents worth is it should have been the Marketing Director or Head of Marketing as they would be better placed to have a discussion with CC.

  • ginidietrich

    @JayDolan I have high hopes for you…don’t disappoint me!

  • ginidietrich

    @JayDolan I have high hopes for you…don’t disappoint me!

  • ginidietrich

    @JayDolan I have high hopes for you…don’t disappoint me!

  • ginidietrich

    I just looked – FUMichaelSchechter is available. I’m going to buy it. Then I’m going to have some real fun!

    The biggest issue I have with this campaign is not in the video (which was terrible) or in the complete disregard of the audience or in how the blogosphere handled those two things. But in how Ragu tweeted their video link to those people they considered highly influential for their campaign.

    I wish we had a screen grab of it, but the entire page was filled with:

    @twitterhandle Do you cook with your kids? Check out our video … bit.ly

    It’s total spam and not a good use of the tool in the least. It hurts my marketing head.

  • TomOB

    @the_gman @nittygriddyblog @ginidietrich non of this will impact Ragu sales at all! #SMTempest

  • jennwhinnem

    Michael, I had missed this particular story, so thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    I think you’re quite generous/kind to ask bloggers not to rail on brands that misstep. Personally, I’m tired of agencies that – that position themselves as knowing social media and then they do something like @ reply a bunch of people on Twitter, WTHHHHHHH (that’s how teenagers do emphasis, btw, I think it’s hilarious). I’m still appalled by that, to say nothing of the whole “let’s leverage a tired stereotype to be clever.” I think I need to lie down, or blow the vuvuzela.

  • @ginidietrich FUMichaelschechter? That is hilarious.

  • @ginidietrich@MSchechter Ragu’s tweeting strategy was a horrible idea. Whether it was someone from the PR team or a different communications team, actions like this are exactly what continues to give PR a bad rep.

    Having said that, there are definitely two sides to this story, because I think going to the extent of buying the FURagu.com domain name is a bit much. I’ve always wondered if maybe it’s just me thinking that people go WAY overboard when it comes to publicly outing brands online because even if I do have bad experiences, I don’t publicly complain about companies online (it could also be because I do this type of work for a living and think twice before I make public call outs online).

    Yes, the Ragu team tweeting needed to be told why they were doing it wrong. But to the extent in which it was taken? I don’t think so.

  • AnneWeiskopf

    LOLz! First Loehmanns and then Ragu . @ginidietrich ‘s marketing headache is turning into a migrane. Michael – enjoyed your post: lots for both sides to think about and learn from. (ps – for the record, I have stopped buying Kenneth Cole; not after the Egypt tweet – but – after associating buying a pocketbook with getting an abortion. Fool me once, shame on me, etc….)

  • MSchechter

    @AnneWeiskopf@ginidietrich The common thread is clearly that Gini hates brands…

    I hear you on Kenneth Cole, they tend to push the buttons intentionally. You have to imagine it is bringing more than it is taking away or they wouldn’t do it. I was actually shopping with my Grandmother this weekend (awww) and we passed by their store, she was loosing her mind over the fact that they were advertising 31% off as if the 1% was going to make the difference. Had to explain to her that it wasn’t about the money, it was about her talking about the extra percent and therefore the brand… bottom line, like them or hate them, they know how to get people talking.

  • MSchechter

    @AnneWeiskopf@ginidietrich The common thread is clearly that Gini hates brands…

    I hear you on Kenneth Cole, they tend to push the buttons intentionally. You have to imagine it is bringing more than it is taking away or they wouldn’t do it. I was actually shopping with my Grandmother this weekend (awww) and we passed by their store, she was loosing her mind over the fact that they were advertising 31% off as if the 1% was going to make the difference. Had to explain to her that it wasn’t about the money, it was about her talking about the extra percent and therefore the brand… bottom line, like them or hate them, they know how to get people talking.

  • MSchechter

    @AnneWeiskopf@ginidietrich The common thread is clearly that Gini hates brands…

    I hear you on Kenneth Cole, they tend to push the buttons intentionally. You have to imagine it is bringing more than it is taking away or they wouldn’t do it. I was actually shopping with my Grandmother this weekend (awww) and we passed by their store, she was loosing her mind over the fact that they were advertising 31% off as if the 1% was going to make the difference. Had to explain to her that it wasn’t about the money, it was about her talking about the extra percent and therefore the brand… bottom line, like them or hate them, they know how to get people talking.

  • MSchechter

    @jennwhinnem I’m not saying we should give free passes here… just saying a little balance on the other side of the seesaw never hurt anyone 🙂 What they did made my head hurt, what CC did made my head angry.

  • MSchechter

    @ginidietrich@twitterhandle Want to know what’s really sad…. FUMichaelSchechter.com would probably kick the crap out of my own web traffic…

    The twitter spam was embarrassing, but it’s almost like when my daughter does something or says something horrible (I mean she is my kid after all…). It was so bad on all fronts, how can you even get mad at them… Call them out, tell them what they could have done better, fine… just keep a cool head, we’re talking about marketing marinara here…

  • MSchechter

    @Lisa Gerber@ginidietrich Why am I actually worried that she did this…

  • MSchechter

    @Nikki_Little@ginidietrich Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head, just a miss all the way around…

  • MSchechter

    @susanoakes You’re probably right, but I can imagine it was a call they felt the HAD to make rather than one they WANTED to. The tact he took would make it hard for the smartest amongst us to want to hear the second, far more helpful part of what he had to say.

  • MSchechter

    @NancyD68 I would hope Ragu learned a whole lot of what NOT to do from this situation. It will be interesting to see how they progress (there was such a bad Progresso joke there) from here. I get why he would be frustrated, but it was too big of a flop to get this angry over…

  • MSchechter

    @trontastic That could just get recursive with hundreds upon hundred of FUFUFUFUFURagu domains running rampant… We brands need to get our crap straight quickly, but a little patience on the other side isn’t going to kill anyone (and is actually the business opportunity for many socially savvy folks). I just don’t think bullying the brands is the best want to get them to WANT to do this. And while this might sound naive, it’s better that they want to do this than HAVE to do it.

    Now that you mention it, a cold one sounds like a really good idea…

  • MSchechter

    @mdbarber I don’t know if it gives us an excuse to be negative, I’ve never much needed an excuse. I just think it shows us the power of that negativity.

    Hopefully we see more guts, not less. And hopefully we see more tolerance for the guts that occasionally spill all over the floor…

  • MSchechter

    @Erin F.@rustyspeidel I felt very much the same way after reading the last one… Sadly, I’m sure people will eat that crap up at a Keynote…

  • @MSchechter It may not be an excuse but it has certainly given us a wide open door which most prefer to take. Why not think a bit before we speak. Why not reach out to Ragu with examples of men who do cook well & ways they could help ore Dads spend quality time with their kids.

    Today’s Apple event is another good example. Because of social media…we know Apple disappointed the world (ok that’s a exaggeration) by not introducing the iPhone5. But we seem to have missed that they introduced a phone with a way faster processor, better camera, higher quality video camera and more. It’s a very cool phone…just in the same “box” as the 4.

    I just wish “we” would all think more before we post. I hope “we” continue to have guts too. But the more we’re shot down, the more gun shy we’ll be.

  • MSchechter

    @mdbarber Wow, too funny, I just finished prepping a post for my own site on how I think people’s disappointment with the iPhone 5 omission is short sighted… looks like we think alike 🙂

    I may be gun shy, but I’m enough of an Apple fanboy to take a bullet 🙂

  • @MSchechter oh. That is funny. You’re beating me to it. Be sure to send me the link. Think I’ll do one on glass half full vs empty.

  • @Erin F. @MSchechter @rustyspeidel I read his last post as one from a kid who threw a tantrum, tried to bully his way to playing with a toy and got told he couldn’t. In other words, CC was making a play for the Ragu account, and it didn’t work. I’ve also heard rumors there’s more to this than meets the eye – *cough Motrin cough* – but what do I know..? 😉

  • What a great response. Some real common sense. I just wish that social media consultants took a positive tone when discussing apparent fails. Sometimes shouting so loud means you don’t get heard.

  • EXCELLENT!!!!

    I’m anti bullying in any format although I am a fan of CC’s.

    Your words could be spoken to so many of my clients, but I tell them that they HAVE to conquer this fear.

    And Influencers need to have manners. Sheesh.

  • @Nikki_Little@ginidietrich@MSchechter I agree that CC went overboard – the FURagu thing is just lowdown and nasty.

    But I have no issue complaining about customer service via Twitter. I do it in a polite way, but to me it’s the total point of Social Media empowering the consumer.

    For instance – when I’ve had gotomypc issues I tweet them and they fix it or give me advice. The result? I have a fantastic ‘feeling’ about them because I know they’ve got their customers’ back.

    2nd Example: I’ve tweeted about Days Inn more than once, they never respond. Never responded to emails to their customer service dept. either. I won’t ever, ever stay there or recommend them again.

    Lastly – does anyone know if Ragu heard it all?

  • I finally went back and read CC’s original post and it’s follow up, and I have to say that I don’t think his comments were that strident.

    What it looks like to me is that Ragu hit a nerve that a lot of advertising agencies should take heed of: The good dads tired of being ridiculed. I see it all the time – Dad who is ignorant or foolish, mom rolling her eyes.

    I still think the FURagu is way, way over the top, but their fear or arrogance caused them to miss a golden opportunity to speak to the market CC represents. They DID comment on http://blog.customscoop.com but never on CC’s post.

  • AnneWeiskopf

    @MSchechter I want to party with Grandma! PS – you’re a nice Jewish boy, spending time with you Grandmother. What a mensch!

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  • I’ve had a look at CC’s posts and comments and to be fair I really don’t know how it constitutes as bullying. Firstly, why should he have a responsibility to have to be ‘constructive’ or offer a solution for free? What makes anybody or any brand free from constructive criticism?

    Ragu deserved the brunt of CC as far as I am concerned. Companies all too often refuse to acknowledge any social responsibility with the messages that they’re sending out. I’m sick of the constant stream of adverts that seem to be in vogue here in the UK of making men out to be utter morons.

    If you think CC’s response was ‘over the top’ then next time, make out to someone that they are an inept moron.

    And to all those saying buying FUragu was too much, seriously? nobody got hurt, nobody died, nobody’s going to need therapy, ragu is still going to continue making tens of millions worldwide.

    More power to the bloggers and less to the corporate giants please!

  • MSchechter

    @AnneWeiskopf That’s how I roll 🙂

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Same here, the whole thing seemed out of character (not that I know him all that well, nor do I have the whole picture).

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Same here, the whole thing seemed out of character (not that I know him all that well, nor do I have the whole picture).

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Stereotypes are a staple in bad marketing, but I still feel as if that first (and a little of the last) post are akin to temper tantrums. I tend to disagree that jumping into those comments would have been wise (although there are WAY smarter folks who could comment on that here). CC framed the first post in a way that Ragu was better served staying out of it, IMO.

  • MSchechter

    @jonbuscall Often times it seems easier to drive business with fear. Amen on that last bit.

  • @rustyspeidel Good advice, though I can understand cc_chapman not having a “sense of humor” about a tired, overplayed and insulting stereotype that’s found in virtually every “family” sitcom and seems to be so generally accepted in society. (Why, for example, do people ask if I’m “babysitting” when I go somewhere alone with the kids? They’re MY kids. It’s parenting… NOT babysitting. But I digress.) That said, he probably should have taken a deep breath and counted to 10 before writing that original post and registering FURagu.com. A bigger question for Ragu might be why they decided to target dads in the first place with a video that played into stereotypes that many of those dads they were targeting would find offensive. Last I checked, insulting/offending your audience is not a great marketing strategy.

  • This is a hard one because i find myself looking for the balance between bullying and protecting the PR industry. Sending spam tweets to bloggers with a video link and calling it outreach is what got PR in this mess we are rep wise. We just can’t be lazy like that. But I also see the bullying POV.

  • This is what happens when you give control to inexperienced staff.

  • AnneWeiskopf

    @TheJackB Agreed. Same scenario with the Loehmann’s story (which is posted on Spin Sucks.)

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB No doubt. I hope you don’t think that I’m giving Ragu a pass. Just that it didn’t warrant the intensity of the response.

  • MSchechter

    @JGoldsborough It’s a tough one and I think what was so frustrating for me was just how bad it was all around. It was bad outreach, a bad effort and a bad reaction. Everyone needs to step up their game. But just as lazy PR is bad, so is childish lashing out…

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter@rustyspeidel I think I read the final post similarly. Chapman seemed more upset that the Ragu people didn’t want to listen to him. Hmm…I wonder why?

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  • @MSchechter I don’t know…. the title may have been too strong, and he said he regretted it, but if the RIGHT voice and person were used I think they would have been better off commenting AT the source.

    I also saw on their FB page that lots of other people were upset for the same reason CC was – Dad’s who are an integral part of the new family were feeling disrespected.

    Ragu never commented to these folks on THEIR OWN PAGE.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter There could have been red tape involved, based on the negativity (right or otherwise) that had sprung up.

    Not ideal, obviously, but understandable in that they wanted to make things happen the right way moving forward. Not too easy when you have a rampaging bully on your tail.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter There could have been red tape involved, based on the negativity (right or otherwise) that had sprung up.

    Not ideal, obviously, but understandable in that they wanted to make things happen the right way moving forward. Not too easy when you have a rampaging bully on your tail.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter There could have been red tape involved, based on the negativity (right or otherwise) that had sprung up.

    Not ideal, obviously, but understandable in that they wanted to make things happen the right way moving forward. Not too easy when you have a rampaging bully on your tail.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter You see, that’s why I’m no longer in Corp. America – I can’t stomach the Red Tape.

    If Social Media is REAL, why not REALLY apologize for the unintended offense and have a conversation ON CC’s blog about Dad’s being left out of the marketing equation.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter You see, that’s why I’m no longer in Corp. America – I can’t stomach the Red Tape.

    If Social Media is REAL, why not REALLY apologize for the unintended offense and have a conversation ON CC’s blog about Dad’s being left out of the marketing equation.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter And Danny, why not speak up to OTHERS on their OWN Fan Page. I saw Jason Falls on there respectfully calling them on the same issue and they never commented back.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter Defense mechanism kicking in. Again, not ideal, but having had to advise a F50 company earlier this year on a similar attack, and knowing that the hounds were just waiting on your next mistake, I can see why Ragu may have felt less was more.

    Besides, though, who says they *have* to reply to CC, or anyone else? When did the self-entitlement come in that everyone or every brand needs to respond to a blogger who’s bitching about them continuously?

    It’s like being involved in an argument where you can’t get a word in, because the other party is too busy mouthing off at how they’ve been wronged.

    Sure, it upset a few dads, but there were just as many dads laughing at it as well, because in the grand scheme of things, who cares?

    Stereotypes are everywhere – movies, newspapers, books, magazines, sports. Everywhere.

    Does it make it right? No, but it doesn’t always make it so wrong that you get attacks (plural, because there was more than one) from folks like CC.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter Defense mechanism kicking in. Again, not ideal, but having had to advise a F50 company earlier this year on a similar attack, and knowing that the hounds were just waiting on your next mistake, I can see why Ragu may have felt less was more.

    Besides, though, who says they *have* to reply to CC, or anyone else? When did the self-entitlement come in that everyone or every brand needs to respond to a blogger who’s bitching about them continuously?

    It’s like being involved in an argument where you can’t get a word in, because the other party is too busy mouthing off at how they’ve been wronged.

    Sure, it upset a few dads, but there were just as many dads laughing at it as well, because in the grand scheme of things, who cares?

    Stereotypes are everywhere – movies, newspapers, books, magazines, sports. Everywhere.

    Does it make it right? No, but it doesn’t always make it so wrong that you get attacks (plural, because there was more than one) from folks like CC.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin How many of those same people would have mentioned it if not for CC’s initial post? How would they have responded differently if it hadn’t been so contentious? These are all impossible to call. It’s a mess and they are better off really making changes rather than continuing to get the crap kicked out of them.

    And if he regretted it and wanted to add the question mark, why didn’t he? If he went to far why not change it?

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Because it appears they clearly don’t want anything to do with CC and they clearly don’t have to do this on his terms. I can see why they wouldn’t at this point, its far more likely that any response ends up as another slide in yet another brand bashing keynote.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin What about this comment is respectful to you: “Your video campaign insulting dads cooking is awful. You know what my kids get when dad cooks? Healthy meals. And from now on they won’t include anything from Ragu. Way to alienate an audience.”

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin What about this comment is respectful to you: “Your video campaign insulting dads cooking is awful. You know what my kids get when dad cooks? Healthy meals. And from now on they won’t include anything from Ragu. Way to alienate an audience.”

  • @MSchechter I don’t know. Every time I read their response I get irritated.

    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=159815

  • @MSchechter I don’t know. Every time I read their response I get irritated.

    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=159815

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB Agreed, they would have been far better served with a “we screwed up, we’re going to learn from the experience and do better going forward” This kind of CYA talk doesn’t help.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin It really is one of those messes where everyone involved is just so damn wrong it pays to just move on. I don’t think many would defend Ragu and while many are, I don’t see why anyone should defend the response. It really is a perfect example of the worst of both sides of social media…

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin It really is one of those messes where everyone involved is just so damn wrong it pays to just move on. I don’t think many would defend Ragu and while many are, I don’t see why anyone should defend the response. It really is a perfect example of the worst of both sides of social media…

  • MSchechter

    @mdbarber Ask and you shall receive 🙂 http://michaelschechter.me/iphone-important-of-iteration/

  • @MSchechter OK, point taken – but there were other dads on there saying that they were offended. And Jason appears to be reacting honestly. People are allowed to say that your video is awful if that’s how they fell.

    And I agree with your anti-bullying stance, but I still think THEIR response was SUCH a missed opportunity.

    If you check their Facebook Page you’ll see that their engagement is sporadic. If someone’s positive they are likely to respond, and if it’s negative they tend to ignore it. Bad Social Media behavior.

    And you’re right – there was lots of “wrong” behavior on both sides; I just expect more from an F50 company.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin That seems different to me. Asking a company for help and lashing out at them are two different things and I 100% agree that their willingness to jump in on those venues makes a difference to me as well.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter I think one of the reasons I’m taking Ragu’s side, if you like, over CC’s, is that I don’t appreciate people calling for others to be fired, because they didn’t like the approach.

    CC said the agency should be fired – so, as a dad, he’s happy that if Ragu took that action it would put dads (and moms) out of work a couple of months before Christmas?

    Riiiighhhttt…. 😉

  • MackCollier

    In general, I get your point about not roasting brands for their 1st forays into Social Media. However the Ragu videos WERE purposely condescending to dads, and basically said they can’t cook any better than children. So C.C., as a dad that DOES cook, took it personally. That’s where I think this is a slightly different scenario than big name brand using social media and big name blogger jumping on them to drive hits to their site. I think C.C. vented for about 12 hours, then moved on, but I honestly didn’t follow it that closely. And maybe I’ve missed a meeting, but I don’t think C.C. has a reputation for slamming brands that use Social media, in fact he’s got a rep as one of the more level-headed bloggers in this regard.

    But most social media backlashes happen because of how the brand responds to the initial bruhaha. Did Ragu ever respond? I think they did, but it was like 15 hours later. This was a great opportunity for Ragu to reach out to C.C. and other social media-savvy dads and have them submit videos, or blog posts where they share their favorite recipes. A great way to turn a negative into a positive, but Ragu did what most big brands do when faced with social media backlash: They ignored it for too long, then had a less than ideal response when they did respond.

  • MackCollier

    @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter So this agency’s only client is Ragu and they will all be unemployed if they lose Ragu? I’m betting that’s not the case 😉

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@DannyBrown Agreed, but there is a good chance someone’s head would/will probably roll… and to be honest, I’m not saying it wouldn’t be entirely deserved, I’m just wondering if that’s really what influencers should be going after.

  • Thanks. Just commented. Nice job!

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier He still keeps bringing it up and has made it clear he plans to bring it up in several keynotes going forward. That seems like more than a vent session. I’ve always thought him level headed and have always loved hearing him speak. Maybe I just truly don’t understand his passion for brands and dads, but I still don’t think it excuses the tact.

    As for why they happen, I disagree. It takes two here. It’s when someone lashes and a brand makes mistakes. Both parties acted poorly and continue to act poorly. But again, that’s just one mans opinion.

  • MackCollier

    @MSchechter@DannyBrown In this case, from C.C.’s point of view, I look at two things:

    1 – Does he have a reputation for being a bullying asshole that goes around slamming brands without cause? I think everyone here would have to agree that he does not.

    2 – What caused him to react the way he did? I think it’s pretty obvious from what C.C. said that he took the Ragu videos as being a PERSONAL insult, as a dad. Now we can argue about whether or not C.C. went too far in his response, but the fact remains that if C.C. was personally offended by these videos, it’s a good bet that other dads were as well. And most of us display more venom when we have been personally offended.

    So again, totally on board with you on giving brands new to social media a bit of a break, but I think we need to also understand why C.C. reacted the way he did, cause he felt personally insulted. I do think buying FURagu.com was a bit much, but I think Ragu’s videos were pretty dumb as well.

  • @MSchechter@MackCollier@DannyBrown I don’t like ANYONE calling for anyone’s firing (unless the target is a politician) without knowing the inside details.

    But this ‘agency’ does not have a clue. I know 500K FB Fans are a lot to manage, but many, many comments go hours or days without an answer, or aren’t EVER.

    THIS is the problem with so many old school agencies – they THINK they know what they’re doing. At the heart of it all is ARROGANCE.

  • @MackCollier@MSchechter@DannyBrown

    I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog for my small biz clients and one of the BIG 2 takeaways: There is a large segment of the Dad population that is sick to death of being portrayed as foolish and irresponsible.

    A vacuum is waiting to be filled, gentlemen.

  • MackCollier

    @TheJackB Didn’t exactly fall on the sword there, did they?

  • @MackCollier@MSchechter And as many dads that were offended, just as many (or more) didn’t care. I’m not saying Ragu did a great job; I’m not saying CC did a great job.

    But either way, this little social media entitlement bubble is getting a bit lame.

    With regards Ragu being the only client, I agree, probably not. But let’s leave the firing aspect to those that know what went down, if there needs to be any firing at all. Education is a pretty nice alternative…

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@DannyBrown I can’t help but feel this is one part feeling legitimately slighted as a dad and 1 part trying to make this thing bigger than it actually is. It hit you wrong, but would any of us still be talking about it if it wasn’t for CC’s reaction and not the initial post?

  • @MackCollier@MSchechter 15 hours is too long? When did we turn into a “you better reply to me instantly” mob?

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin@MackCollier True, but it also makes you go looking for dirt.

  • @MSchechter@MackCollier The thing is, Mike, only the little social media bubble is really talking about it. Other dads (and moms) are out there, blissfully ignorant, still buying and eating Ragu products. Which tends to happen on every outrageous social media faux pas, funnily enough…

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@MackCollier And that’s probably the real story here… What are the chances that any of this actually impacts sales. What do you actually think is the percentage of crossover between the offended parties and actual customers…

  • @MSchechter@MackCollier Oooh, 2%..? 😉

  • MSchechter

    And that 2% is what percentage of overall Ragu customers?

  • kaitlinmaud

    I think that this is also a valuable read for individuals and their personal brands.

    “Be prepared. At some point, someone is going to set their sights on you. At some point you are going to screw up. At some point you will deserve it. I feel your pain, but you are going to have to take smarter chances and frankly, you are going to have to become better PEOPLE.”Eventually someone isn’t going to like something you have to say. They’re going to crucify you. But, usually, it will pass. You will learn.

  • MSchechter

    @kaitlinmaud And that learning doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes you need more than a week to reflect on things and really let what happened sink in.

  • MSchechter

    @kaitlinmaud And that learning doesn’t always happen instantly. Sometimes you need more than a week to reflect on things and really let what happened sink in.

  • kaitlinmaud

    @MSchechter Definitely.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@MackCollier That may actually be worse than the spamming, the fact that they seemed to spam them as they were walking out the door… All of this seemed to take place after hours.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@MackCollier And yes, I know that “hours” dont always pertain in Social Media…

  • @MackCollier No, they didn’t and the author of that letter isn’t what you would call a low level staffer either.

  • @MSchechter Whose responsibility is it for being misunderstood Ragu or the reader. I think that you know where I fall on that one.

  • @MSchechter I love that because that is something I want to know. What does that 2% equal in terms of people and lost sales.

    Perhaps it is nothing of consequence, but maybe not. Maybe it is significant and something that could have easily been avoided.

  • @AmyMccTobin It is getting larger. I hear about it on a regular basis.

  • @MSchechter@DannyBrown@MackCollier Ah, now that LiveFyre has let me in to the system,,,

    LIVEFYRE WHY DO YOU NOT LET ME RESPOND INSTANTLY BUT MAKE ME SIGN IN BEFORE COMMENTING- DON’T YOU KNOW THIS THE AGE OF INSTANT RESPONSE? IF I DON’T HEAR BACK FROM YOU IN 3 HOURS….*Breathe into paper bag*

    Better, sorry. Kidding of course.

    This whole thing gives me a headache. The Ragu campaign suffered more from being boring than anything else– the fun they could have had with the stereotypes- oh well. and the targeting was basic bad PR 101- just search “CC Chapman” and “penis” (c’mon, you’ve done it), and you will come up with this: http://www.digitaldads.com/2010/01/i-have-a-penis-i-am-not-a-mom/ – and you will know instantly how he would react to such a campaign. So yeah, probably better to skip him there (did any of the other dad bloggers campaign? No idea).

    But I also believe Michael and the commenters raise some great points about the expectations for response when brands make mistakes. I was ready to explode on Amazon over a shipping charges issue, but 10 minutes and some excellent customer service presented the typical knee-jerk Tweets that ,any of us in this community would have done.

    By the way, I thought the MediaPost article was a pretty reasoned response to getting flamed. I’m not sure I would have done it that way in that venue, but it shows thought and a level head.

    There was a lot of great constructive feedback in the whole exchange- and I am a big fan of being critical online- but I think sometimes we need to count to ten- or 1,000.

  • @dough We’re in disagreement here about a number of things. Your reference to CC’s post about having penis made me smile- I have one too and I know how to use it, watch out. 😉

    But seriously if you are trying to portray him as being unreasonable I suppose it makes sense to use just the headline there. I don’t know, maybe I am wrong.

    What I am certain about is that fathers sometimes receive “funny treatment” by brands and media. We’re not all buffoons, pedophiles or ignoramuses who can’t parent, cook or get along in the world.

    There has been a push by many dads to ask for those stereotypes to be removed from the discussion and a request for brands to include us in their outreach as something more than a second thought.

    That response on Mediapost felt disingenuous and came across quite poorly. It seemed to me that it blamed those who were upset for not understanding their message.

    As a writer I take responsibility for ensuring that the readers understand my message and my intent. If they do not then I have to take a hard look at my words.

    Maybe it could have been handled better by all parties, but I just have a hard time with that reply. Perception influences everything and well…

  • I know CC too well to tag him as unreasonable. I know these stereotypes upset him (more than they do me, vive la difference), and to belabor my earlier point, Ragu should have done their homework and known that as well.

    I get the reaction to the stereotyping of fathers- I also stick by my statement they could have a lot of fun (risky perhaps but fun) with this, rather than the flat campaign they presented (look what FiberOne did with the Cheech and Chong Magic Brownies video– not at all social, but taking a risk and actually being entertaining and self-deprecating).

    I probably wouldn’t counsel a client to respond on Mediapost like that because there’s no real win in stoking the fire– but I think, for us, it has opened up a lot of thoughtful conversations.

    As someone who counsels companies on social media, I am pretty mindful of what I say publicly about brands (I may not be perfect on that count- let me take this opportunity to apologize to Ford for past and future comments about people who drive Mustangs- but few are). What this conjures for me is that as social media professionals, I think we do have to be measured in how quick we are to judge and how harsh we are. I think the debate as to whether CC was too harsh here is a good one. The best part of this whole debate is that it’s taking part among many professionals who do this counseling- and Ragu’s response is part of that debate as far as I’m concerned.

    (Not that I can’t be snarky and ask “WHERE IS CC’s RESPONSE?” – yes i know he commented on Gini’s post, but where would my joke be then?)

  • On a personal level, I still think of myself as relatively insignificant, so it’s almost jarring to read a post like this and realize that, as a brand utilizing social media, you actually wield more power than you are aware of. And of course, with great power comes great responsibility. Same is true of social media as is any other powerful forum.

    Exercise your influence wisely, brands. Power can shift and burning bridges always works both ways, as many of us are wont to forget.

  • MackCollier

    @DannyBrown@MSchechter When you’ve offended your customers via social media tools and they are looking to you to answer them via those same tools, yes, 15 hours is way too long to respond. 15 mins should be plenty of time for a big brand that SHOULD be monitoring social media.

    If it takes 15 hours to respond, you might want to consider that customer service and response isn’t a 9-5 job, it’s a 24-7 job.

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@MSchechter 15 minutes? That depends. It would be nice though (and yeah, i agree that 15 hours is too long). I think it’s great to discuss the 24/7 nature– who’s monitoring and responding at 3am, the director of marketing? Who’s on Sunday morning?

    One elegant solution by a brand (may have been vistaprint) was to post on a Twitter account bio what hours someone is present– that of course, is only part of the solution, and a real brand crisis (let’s leave aside whether the subject of this post constitutes a “real brand crisis”) does require monitoring and response– it’s something we need to make companies aware of, but I’m not sure of the 15 minutes- (understanding you may just be throwing a number out there)

  • MackCollier

    @MSchechter@DannyBrown Very few of these social media outbursts ever make an impact on sales. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t push for brands to handle these situations better. Don’t think either of you are suggesting this, but just to clarify…

  • MackCollier

    @dough@DannyBrown@MSchechter Doug a truly global brand should always have someone monitoring, so something close to real-time response should be possible. Should be. Most big brands don’t have the infrastructure in place to do this, but in 2-3 years, I think that will be a different story.

    But if you have a serious Social Media firestorm brewing, leaving it alone for 15 hours is only going to make it 10X worse. Again, most of these firestorms happen based on how the brand responds. Or if it doesn’t.

  • MackCollier

    @dough@DannyBrown@MSchechter BTW Doug that’s a great point about how Vistaprint(?) posts when someone is watching their Twitter account. Anything brands can do to help communicate and manage expectations is a good thing.

  • @MSchechter@DannyBrown@MackCollier OK, Steve Jobs passing makes this all look insignificant, no?

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@MSchechter http://twitter.com/#!/vistaprint

    Official Twitter page of Vistaprint (VPRT).This page is run by the company’s PR team M-F 9-5:30 EDT. Customer Service # 866.614.8004

    Love this. Set expectations for response.

    Truth in even big corporations, is, it’s as good as the resources you throw at it AND the expectations you set,

  • MSchechter

    @EmmaofCEM Same is true on the other end. There power is shifting and both sides need to be responsible.

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@TheJackB They certainly aren’t doing themselves many favors.

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB@dough Getting your message across is key. And owning when you don’t is essential (speaking from experience here). That said, I think the intent was to be a bit edgy, but not to hurt. It was a mistake and a misstep, but I don’t think they were looking to hurt anyone with that video.

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@DannyBrown We may just agree to disagree here, while I think 15 hours is on the edge, I think the expectation of 15 minutes is unrealistic. I also think you have to take into consideration what the product and what the complaint happens to be. Let’s keep in mind that this was not a problem with the product, it was a problem with their marketing. This was not a customer service issue, it was a customer relations and I think companies have a right to reflect and think about what they are going to say before they react (not that it did them a ton of favors here).

  • MSchechter

    @dough@MackCollier@DannyBrown It’s an interesting idea, hadn’t considered putting a timeframe on our corporate site…. We certainly have one on our phone system…

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@dough@DannyBrown Possible is one thing, but is it necessary? I just don’t think we are at the point where the average global brand requires that kind of reaction time. 2-3 years may be a very different situation, but I just don’t feel that we are quite there.

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@dough@DannyBrown Possible is one thing, but is it necessary? I just don’t think we are at the point where the average global brand requires that kind of reaction time. 2-3 years may be a very different situation, but I just don’t feel that we are quite there.

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB Wouldn’t the better question be, “once misunderstood is it always worth working things out?”

    For one reason or another, Ragu must feel this is a lost cause.

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB No one intends to make a mistake and it is rare that these kinds of internet blowups translate into massive sales losses (especially when you are talking about a marketing issue and not a product issue). Something tells me that 99.9999999999% of people who walked passed Ragu this week chose to buy or not buy it for just about every other reason than this whole fiasco.

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB@AmyMccTobin You hear about it on here, in the circles we run in. Take a walk around my office, not a person would know what you are talking about.

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier@DannyBrown No, not suggesting that at all. What I’m suggesting is that we are still in the learning phase and the mistakes are part of this whole space coming into its own. Let’s be realistic and know that they are going to happen. What I am suggesting is that we not only police the brands but that we also make sure the influencers also do their part to ensure that whatever Social Media grows up to be, that we try to make it the best little space we possibly can. I just don’t think anyone involved in this should be feeling proud.

  • @MSchechter @MackCollier Exactly, Mike. Was this a customer service issue? No. Even if it was, who dictates how long a company should take? They do – not us, not a pissed off blogger. They do – the company. And having worked on a few Unilever programs, I know how red tape they can be. So by all means, offer your take but saying a brand should have a response time of X without knowing that brand’s internal procedures is missing a little of the process.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@MackCollier And was he even a customer. Sure they reached out to him, but I think it became quickly clear that 1) he wasn’t and 2) he probably wasn’t going to be anytime soon. I will say that red tape is starting to get a lot less red, but I’m also going to be realistic and be ok with the fact that it will probably take time and missteps for that to really happen.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter@MackCollier Just because the company CAN dictate response time doens’t meant they’re right. Perhaps Mack is not spot on with the 15 minutes, but I think he’s right – 15 HOURS can let an ember turn into a Forest Fire.

    And if you look at their Facebook page you’ll see that 15 hours or NEVER responding is pretty typical. If you’re going to play the game can you at least understand it?

  • @MSchechter@MackCollier@DannyBrown I guess that THAT is the takeaway, this is a lesson, because that 2% or whatever the number is IS getting larger.

    QUESTION: Have the many boneheaded Social Media mistakes hurt Kenneth Cole? I know I don’t buy their shoes anymore because they’ve disgusted me too many times.

    Honestly, I don’t buy Ragu because I think it’s too sweet.

    Thinking of a beloved brand of mine: UGGS. I don’t buy them because they’re (or were) trendy, I buy them because I hate being cold and they’re fabulously warm. If they sent out an offensive video I MAY go and buy another brand or real sheerling boots…. maybe. I think it would depend upon the level of offense.

    So, perhaps these dust ups mean nothing… or perhaps a company can get away with a few. But why would they want to? Why on earth would they not WANT to avoid these firestorms?

  • @MSchechter@MackCollier@DannyBrown OK, I just read their entire response with a level head and it is very clear what lies at the heart of their Social Media issues:

    ARROGANCE.

    It’s the audience’s fault for getting upset.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter@MackCollier

    After all that I couldn’t stop thinking and spawned this: http://arielmarketinggroup.com/blog/?p=2639

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Isn’t part of learning to understand it having to play the game? I don’t think they are dictating time, I just think they needed it. Companies like Apple do this all the time, they take their time, they let the fire burn, they come to a definitive answer and they answer. I’m not coming close to saying that is what happened here, I’m simply suggesting that there isn’t a textbook “right”.

  • @MSchechter I guess you are right and the problem is that they didn’t come to a definitive answer. I think their response was more finger pointing and arrogance.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin I doubt they were trying to get away with something. I think they put something out that the thought was innocent, it clearly hurt people and they are now trying to get through it.

    I agree that number is and will continue to get larger, but we are still in the learning phase and we should still try to be civil. Again, we are talking about Marinara here…

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin The response was badly done. There is no doubt there.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Agree 100%. Had they simply said, “we messed up, we never meant to offend and we will learn from here, but we are moving on” they would have been far better served. Let schmucks like watch the watchmen 🙂

  • @MSchechter@AmyMccTobin Should they have “blamed” anyone but themselves in the letter? Maybe, maybe not. But I actually respect them more that they took a stand, because they were right – the reaction was over-the-top.

    We see so many brands get hijacked by names in social media, and they lie back and take it because they’re afraid that person’s fanboys and groupies will come rushing with pitched forks (and no, Amy, not calling you either of these!) 🙂

    So fair play to the company for standing up for themselves. More should.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin I agree with you and I’m sure it felt good to call out someone you felt you were wronged by. That said, they did it in a way that was only going to perpetuate things rather than end them. In any situation (and BOY am I about to go into hypocrisy land right now) were better off simply owning our own part, improving and moving on.

  • Thanks for adding us as an example on setting expectations @dough 🙂 @MackCollier @DannyBrown @MSchechter

    While social media is a great outlet for companies to interact with their customers, at the end of the day they cannot devote 24-7 coverage and responses because as a society we are not close to being fully wired into social media as a communications medium.

    We all might like to think of ourselves as special – and we are except @DannyBrown – to companies we are just a sliver of the pie. Leaving complaints sit on a social site might be a calculated risk – for example if their core audience is moms who rely on TV ads or product placements on Rachel Ray, how does this social trip up influence their bottom line? After all black eyes do heal.

  • @MSchechter@dough@MackCollier@DannyBrown Cont…

    At Vistaprint we have a small team managing English-speaking social media. The hours posted came back in 2009 when we had customers in the UK noting that we were not responding to them in a timely fashion. So we decided to proactively put it out there as to when we would be responding. We also sign in and out publicly to the community.

    Our standard response time is generally within 60 minutes, unless we are off for the night or over a weekend/holiday. That is not to say that we do not look at the page and communicate with urgent issues while “off the clock.”

    In the case of Ragu, the response might have taken 15 hours as the person giving the response was unavailable or traveling. A response that could have stopped some of the aggravation could have been a Tweet, email or other form of communication saying X person is going to reach out to you to clarify this with you as it was their campaign and pointing out that the response would come in X hours given a situation or travel schedule. It puts a human touch on things.

    Fact of the matter is that we all make mistakes and companies are made up of individuals. So there needs to be a give and take on both ends.

  • @MSchechter@AmyMccTobin Agree and disagree, mate. If you continuously allow yourselves to be beat up (rightly or wrongly, especially wrongly), you’l lose the confidence of your employees, stakeholders, customers and more.

    Do that,and you won’t have a company left to defend.

  • @jeffespo@MSchechter@dough@MackCollier Perfect example, Jeff. We set so many unrealistic expectations without knowing the internal processes.

    Who said Ragu weren’t aware of the situation, and were deeming whether it was a storm in a teacup or something more? Perhaps they were actually looking for user responses, as opposed to folks who were clearly angry opponents and non-users of their product.

    Response101 – choose your battles and allocate the energy where it can help redeem your faux pas (if, indeed, you made one). Mixing it up with trolls and fanboys rarely does this for you.

  • MSchechter

    @jeffespo Nicely put. There’s no doubt it shouldn’t have taken this long, but this is probably the first time they needed immediate response. Something tells me (even despite the Mediapost post) that they will learn a thing or two for the next time around… It will be interesting to see how/if they evolve.

  • MSchechter

    @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin I don’t know, there is a certain inherent confidence in simply acknowledging, learning, moving on and doing better.

  • @MSchechter And THAT is the proper way to respond.

  • @DannyBrown@MSchechter

    First of all know that I am, at heart, a farmgirl and I DO own a pitchfork, so handle me gently. 🙂

    That’s my POINT – WHY blame anyone?? I think Michael’s answer somewhere in this long thread was the right one:

    Apologize for unintentionally offending any one and move on.

    Sometimes ‘standing up for yourself’ comes across as disconnected arrogance.

  • @AmyMccTobin @DannyBrown @MSchechter It’s rare that I disagree with Danny Brown, so I hope I don’t get banned for it (kidding… not that I hope I get banned…. never mind), but the Ragu response came off as arrogant and defensive to me. It was pure spin, and we all know how this blog feels about that. “We’re sorry, but…” 

    The thing that got me most was taking bloggers like Mr. Chapman to task for basing their response solely on the ONLY attempt at engagement Ragu ever made with them (the spammy tweets and lousy video). As if it’s the customer’s responsibility to visit other social channels (Facebook) and watch all the videos in the series before they’re allowed to comment on the tweet and its contents. No, if someone sends me a spammy tweet with a link to content I find offensive, why should I subject myself to even more content from the offender before I’m allowed to call them on it? Marketing 101: Nobody cares about you and your company. Your job is to make them care.

    If Mr. Chapman had reacted positively to that tweet, do you think they would have said, “Whoa. Hold up. Don’t write a glowing review of Ragu based on just that one video and tweet.” No, they would have patted themselves on the back for a well-executed campaign.

    Yes, the reaction was over the top, but don’t fan the flames by pseudo-apologizing and then blaming the person you wronged for getting upset about it.

  • @AmyMccTobin @DannyBrown @MSchechter It’s rare that I disagree with Danny Brown, so I hope I don’t get banned for it (kidding… not that I hope I get banned…. never mind), but the Ragu response came off as arrogant and defensive to me. It was pure spin, and we all know how this blog feels about that. “We’re sorry, but…” 

    The thing that got me most was taking bloggers like Mr. Chapman to task for basing their response solely on the ONLY attempt at engagement Ragu ever made with them (the spammy tweets and lousy video). As if it’s the customer’s responsibility to visit other social channels (Facebook) and watch all the videos in the series before they’re allowed to comment on the tweet and its contents. No, if someone sends me a spammy tweet with a link to content I find offensive, why should I subject myself to even more content from the offender before I’m allowed to call them on it? Marketing 101: Nobody cares about you and your company. Your job is to make them care.

    If Mr. Chapman had reacted positively to that tweet, do you think they would have said, “Whoa. Hold up. Don’t write a glowing review of Ragu based on just that one video and tweet.” No, they would have patted themselves on the back for a well-executed campaign.

    Yes, the reaction was over the top, but don’t fan the flames by pseudo-apologizing and then blaming the person you wronged for getting upset about it.

  • @CarlThress@DannyBrown@MSchechter YES, that’s the right word: pseudo apologizing.

  • @CarlThress@DannyBrown@MSchechter YES, that’s the right word: pseudo apologizing.

  • @CarlThress@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter Hi Carl,

    Disagree away, mate! 🙂

    Here’s the thing – CC isn’t “just a blogger”. He speaks about brands at events; he works with them on programs; he’s written a book on content strategy; and as Amy covers in her post, some see him as a leader.

    If you’re someone with that reach, and you’re about to character assassinate a brand because they never reached out to you in a certain way, and you’re going to use a single example over a campaign, then yes, you deserve to be questioned back.

    I agree – offer your take in a tweet, blog post, whatever. But if you’re going to take a brand to task and use them as an example of bad practices in future presentations, at least make sure you have the whole story and are offering it, as opposed to just the condensed version that makes your attack look more palatable.

  • MackCollier

    @AmyMccTobin@DannyBrown@MSchechter The company is completely entitled to take too long to respond, and to make an inappropriate response when they do. Free country and such 😉

  • MackCollier

    @AmyMccTobin@DannyBrown@MSchechter The company is completely entitled to take too long to respond, and to make an inappropriate response when they do. Free country and such 😉

  • @MackCollier@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter Agreed. It’s what allows people to make over-reactive barbs and grandiose displays of entitlement… 😉

  • MackCollier

    @DannyBrown@jeffespo@MSchechter@dough So Danny you’re saying Ragu thought enough of C.C.’s value as an influencer to hawk their product to him, but didn’t think enough of him as an influencer to actually address his criticism in a timely manner?

    I think that might be the most accurate and telling indictment of why this was such a failure for Ragu. Again, it’s all about understanding expectations of the people you are trying to reach.

  • MackCollier

    @DannyBrown@jeffespo@MSchechter@dough So Danny you’re saying Ragu thought enough of C.C.’s value as an influencer to hawk their product to him, but didn’t think enough of him as an influencer to actually address his criticism in a timely manner?

    I think that might be the most accurate and telling indictment of why this was such a failure for Ragu. Again, it’s all about understanding expectations of the people you are trying to reach.

  • MackCollier

    @DannyBrown@CarlThress@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter The one thing that’s missing from all this discussion of criticizing C.C.’s response is an actual attempt to understand WHY he responded in the way he did. He lashed out because he was PERSONALLY offended as a dad. That is probably the most salient point here, when someone is personally offended, they tend to lash out. I barely know C.C., but from the little time I have spent with him the LAST terms in the world I would use to characterize him is as a ‘troll’ or ‘fanboy’. In fact, he’s one of the most level-headed people I’ve ever met in this space.

    Danny no offense, but you are saying that some here need to better understand Ragu, I think you also need to better understand the bloggers you are criticizing. Not saying that what C.C. or any other blogger did is above reproach, but I see some labels being carelessly tossed around in the comments that are incorrect, and a bit ignorant.

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@CarlThress@MSchechter

    Not to toot my own horn, but I believe that was part of my 2nd or 3rd statement. Offending someone as a DAD, MOM, or anything laden with deep emotional value is a BIG,HUGE Taboo.

    Yes, I would say that CC reacted as a DAD (I’ve never met him). I also get Michael’s point that he overreacted, or at least reacted in a way that made it really unfriendly waters for Ragu to tread into.

    If it was my call, I would have apologized RIGHT THERE and in public for all the world to see, ON CC’s blog.

  • Dana_Willhoit

    Amen! And I will consider that, next time I publicly complain about a company or service. At a certain point, the person who’s huffing and puffing and stomping their feet about a company or ad campaign can start to come off worse than the company they are complaining about.

    I have actually gone on Twitter several times to comment about issues I was having with a company – but I always try to couch it in a “This is an issue I’m having with such and such service” tone, rather than “This company sucks!” approach.

    And when the company responded and fixed the issue – I immediately tweeted about the fact that they did so.

  • Dana_Willhoit

    Amen! And I will consider that, next time I publicly complain about a company or service. At a certain point, the person who’s huffing and puffing and stomping their feet about a company or ad campaign can start to come off worse than the company they are complaining about.

    I have actually gone on Twitter several times to comment about issues I was having with a company – but I always try to couch it in a “This is an issue I’m having with such and such service” tone, rather than “This company sucks!” approach.

    And when the company responded and fixed the issue – I immediately tweeted about the fact that they did so.

  • MSchechter

    @Dana_Willhoit We all vent sometimes. I’m as guilty of it as anyone. It’s when we try to turn it into something bigger that it pays to really look at what we are doing here…

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier Is there no world where they may be entitled to feel that CC’s reaction and the fever pitch of the audience was excessive and decide to cut bait rather than continue fishing? They certainly didn’t help themselves with the apology, but I get why they didn’t walk up to the lynch mob either.

    Yes they brought it on themselves, yes they clearly wanted CC’s attention. But why continue to run into a fist that is held out in front of you?

  • @MackCollier@jeffespo@MSchechter@dough Everyone’s expectations of timely are different, Mack, as pointed out so well bu Doug in this post:

    http://vocecommunications.com/blog/2011/10/social-media-and-response-times-planning-and-expectations/

    As far as “understanding bloggers” and “ignorant”, that works both ways, no? I’m fully aware of CC’s background and his “passion for dads” – but he doesn’t speak for all dads, which many would have you believe.

    The beauty of “ignorance” is that it can let you take a measured view, as opposed to a herd one. If that’s ignorance, I’ll continue to be an ignorant SOB.

  • @MackCollier@jeffespo@MSchechter@dough PS – Mack, the “troll” part was from a tweet CC himself put out. And fanboys? Hell yeah, there are plenty of these in social media especially – though I don’t recall using the term to describe CC himself, but more the way followers jump on the bandwagon to praise those they follow, without necessarily reading through all points by all parties.

  • MSchechter

    @MackCollier And I guess that’s where we don’t fully agree. I believe that he was personally offended, but I also believe that he is savvy enough to understand the fire he was starting.

    As for personally offended, I hear you, but there were several better ways he could have handed his displeasure. If the brand felt he went too far, they have the right to chose not to reengage.

    Ragu screwed up and in my opinion (obviously you disagree) CC went WAY overboard. That doesn’t make him a Troll, it doesn’t make him a bad person, it makes him a human with emotions like the rest of us. That said, while I don’t think Ragu should have said it, there were two parties at play here, neither that acted in the best way that they possibly could.

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown@MackCollier@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter I think I just spent my entire daily allotted blog reading hour on my own blog!

    If I may: Remember a couple of years ago when Domino’s employees made a video of themselves doing inappropriate things with pizzas and sandwiches…and then posting it to YouTube? Do you remember how long it took the company to respond?

    It was a week. Two years ago it took them a week to respond. Today that would be an eternity and it was too long then. I don’t know what is the right time for response, but I do agree brands have to respond.

    I said this on Facebook, and I’ll repeat it here…we advise our clients to always (as soon as humanly possible) respond publicly to negative criticism. Then to take it offline. If the person continues bullying, even after those two responses, the issue is not with the brand, but with the bully.

    There are some very valuable lessons in this and in Domino’s and Motrin and Kenneth Cole and more. That’s the purpose of the blog post: To provide the lessons to other brands. Someday we’ll all laugh that any of us were paid to teach companies how to respond on the social networks.

  • ginidietrich

    @dough Dear Doug, do you need a hug?!?

  • @ginidietrich No, but I’m running out of scotch– thanks! (Sorry it took me 24 minutes to respond to you)

  • @CarlThress@AmyMccTobin@DannyBrown@MSchechter I would argue that it is the responsibility of the audience to examine what they are consuming– it’s not on the company, makreter or content publisher to assume that, tho- so fair on both sides.

    When it comes to a social media professional taking a kneejerk reaction, I think it show your chops in a very public way to do just that– find the context.

  • MackCollier

    @dough@ginidietrich I just replied to a couple of comments on my blog and realized they were left hours ago. Thankfully, being a social media pundit means I don’t have to actually follow any of the same advice I give companies 😉

  • @MackCollier@ginidietrich That’s actually one of the points of the blog post @DannyBrown kindly linked somewhere in this bramble of comments- platform, content and topic often dictate expectations for response (as does actually dictating expectations for response), Dang, I just sucked all the fun out of that

  • MackCollier

    @dough@ginidietrich@DannyBrown Yes, I think the platform does play a role, to a degree. I would love to know if there are studies to back this up (think I remember hearing about 1 or 2), but I would guess we expect faster response times from brands on Twitter than we do a response to a blog post, for example. BTW if anyone knows of a study that shows the differences, I’d love to see it.

  • ginidietrich

    @dough Jerk.

  • mrtvtl905

    I’m a father. I have a daughter. I cook (mostly grill because my wife and I both prefer barbecue), I clean, and I feed and change and take care of my daughter.

    The commercial never bothered me a bit. It’s no worse than the stupid back-and-forth radio yammering between two people talking about a product or service in a way that could never possibly occur in the real world.

    I’d be more pissed about the Twitspamming than the commercial itself. As far as that goes, I think the guy overreacted.

  • @DannyBrown@AmyMccTobin@MSchechter Fair point, and I can see the value in defending yourself and your brand, but the statement from Unilever came off (at least to me) as more defensive than defending, and really did nothing to diffuse the situation. They would probably have been better served to leave out the section where they take their critics to task. The rest of the piece, where they admit they screwed up, explain the campaign in greater detail and talk about their community-building efforts on Facebook, could have provided a good opportunity to highlight some of the positives, while avoiding the verbal fisticuffs of “yeah, but they’re wrong, too.” However, your point about CC being more than “just a blogger” is well-taken. And Michael’s advice to influencers (in the post itself) addresses that well.

  • MSchechter

    @CarlThress@DannyBrown

    Danny, out of curiosity, do you think this particular example of a brand standing up for itself to be a good one? or are you saying it from more of a general standpoint?

  • Pingback: Ragu's social media faux pas offers lessons for brands | PRbuilder.com()

  • @CarlThress@MSchechter Hi Carl,

    I agree they probably could have handled the way they included the critics better, but I can also see why they felt they needed to, mate.

    Mike – in general. There are so many examples of brands being held to ransom just because we have a voice; it’s nice to see them stand up and not be bullied.

  • @MSchechter Learning from mistakes is how we all get better. I think it is just another bump in the road and something that won’t leave a permanent mark.

    I am still on the side of wondering if even all the backlash from this will do anything to them. If the campaign hit all the KPIs, does it matter that they pissed off a group of guys? I would think not…

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@MSchechter@dough I think the whole influencer thing can be put up to lazy PR and crappy tools that list categories out as mom bloggers.

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@MSchechter@dough I think the whole influencer thing can be put up to lazy PR and crappy tools that list categories out as mom bloggers.

  • @MackCollier@DannyBrown@MSchechter@dough I think the whole influencer thing can be put up to lazy PR and crappy tools that list categories out as mom bloggers.

  • ginidietrich

    @mrtvtl905 Have you tried grilling pizza? I get dough from Whole Foods, let everyone put their own toppings on, and then grill it. So. Good.

  • @MSchechter@CarlThress@DannyBrown Ok, so we’re at some sort of a final agreement:

    1. A brand standing up for itself is good, a brand doing it the way Unilever did on Media Post – not so good.

    2. Apologizing for the offense good, pointing out what the attacker did, bad.

    3. CC’s being offended as a dad and blogger, understandable. CC, who talks about Brands for a living buying FURagu.com and stating that he will incorporate Ragu’s mistake into future presentations: and overreaction.

    The last questions:

    What is a decent response time for a Social Media PR faux pas?

    Should the brand respond at the source, even if the source does not look willing to play fair.

  • @MSchechter@CarlThress@DannyBrown Ok, so we’re at some sort of a final agreement:

    1. A brand standing up for itself is good, a brand doing it the way Unilever did on Media Post – not so good.

    2. Apologizing for the offense good, pointing out what the attacker did, bad.

    3. CC’s being offended as a dad and blogger, understandable. CC, who talks about Brands for a living buying FURagu.com and stating that he will incorporate Ragu’s mistake into future presentations: and overreaction.

    The last questions:

    What is a decent response time for a Social Media PR faux pas?

    Should the brand respond at the source, even if the source does not look willing to play fair.

  • @AmyMccTobin@MSchechter@CarlThress I think response time would depend on a lot of factors.

    – How serious is the faux pas?

    – Is it a crisis or simply bloggers / social users over-reacting?

    – Is anyone’s health at risk?

    – Does legal need to prep a response to stop further action?

    – Is there any libel(or potential of) involved?

    So many variables to offer a simple answer. Could be within an hour, could be within a day. Ideally, you can respond quickly and say, “Sorry you feel that way, we’ll look at our process” and ward off any possible comebacks. But again, every company has its process, and may be governed by external forces and regulations (Ragu is owned by Unilever, who have a ton of pharma laws to abide by).

    If the brand feels responding at the source is viable, without getting ambushed by an angry blogger and mob mentality readers (not using CC s example here, but in general), then I’d say yes. If you’re just going there to get drowned out and beat down, no.

    Publish elsewhere, advise why you’re not replying to source (which I think Ragu were trying to do on Mediapost), and reference original complaint. Not much more you can do.

  • MSchechter

    @ginidietrich It’s the post that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend. Some people started commenting, not knowing what it was…

  • MSchechter

    @ginidietrich p.s. I hate you today.

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin Didn’t know we were debating 🙂

    I think that is well summed up. As for the reaction time, I don’t think it’s a math problem. Depends on the situation, the company, the tact and 100 other things.

    As for where the response goes… I know we disagree here, but I just don’t see what they gain from walking up to a lynch mob.

  • ginidietrich

    @MSchechter Sigh…

  • ginidietrich

    @MSchechter Good run last night?!

  • MSchechter

    @ginidietrich I run tonight, so it is pre-hate…

  • MSchechter

    @ginidietrich and now they’ll keep on commenting forever just because this is the post that never ends…

  • MSchechter

    @jeffespo It’s still not ideal, but you’re probably correct. It wouldn’t matter much.

  • What I really want to know is why Prego and our Newmans hasn’t stepped up. This is the perfect opportunity for them to reach out to fathers and fill the gap.

    C’mon brands, more then a few of us are willing to serve as the tomato sauce king… 😉

  • MackCollier

    @TheJackB Bingo. I had the same thought the night this ‘erupted’. Perfect chance for a competitor to make it clear that they love cooking dads as well as cooking moms.

  • @MSchechter Not debating like politicians:) Like the Debate Club.

    Did you see CC’s response on my blog?

  • MSchechter

    @TheJackB It’s an interesting question, wonder if it is 1) not savvy enough to see the opportunity or 2) don’t want to capitalize on a mess. If they eventually do, we know it is 2. If they don’t, 1 🙂

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin I had. I also enjoyed @DannyBrown take…

  • MSchechter

    @AmyMccTobin I had. I also enjoyed @DannyBrown take…

  • SusanReed

    If you have a bully problem, print a sign that says:

    WE EXPOSE BULLIES HERE:>>> http://www.exposethebully.net/

    and post it all over your school, workplace or blog.

    – Please re-post this helpful information on other blogs –

  • Pingback: Ragu’s social media faux pas offers lessons for brands « BeverlyB.Communications()

  • @MSchechter@TheJackB But if most people aren’t paying attention to the Ragu issue, #2 is irrelevant.

  • @MSchechter@DannyBrown@MackCollier Check out how smart Dr. Pepper is: http://ad-chickadee.blogspot.com/2011/10/dr-pepper-ten-takes-page-from-got-milks.html#comment-form

  • NeilSagebiel

    @adamsokoloff No one likes a brand bully. 🙂

  • Pingback: Six Keys to an Apology In Crisis Management by @anneweiskopf | Spin Sucks()

  • missmims1

    Interesting, I will consider this post the next time I publicly complain about a company or service online. It never occurred to me that at a certain point, the person who’s complaining about a company or ad campaign can start to come off worse than the company they are complaining about.

  • Pingback: The Wisdom of Mike Tyson: Scenario Planning in Marketing by @saltlab | Spin Sucks()

  • Pingback: Brainstorming for Grown-ups by @belllindsay()

  • Pingback: Crisis Management: Six Keys to a Great Apology « MindCorp | Newsfeed()

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