In the article from Adweek, “ChapStick Gets Itself in a Social Media Death Spiral: A brand’s silent war against its Facebook fans,” Tim Nudd details how ChapStick failed to respond to negative comments on their Facebook.

ChapStick’s Controversial Ad

ChapStick posts an image on its Facebook of a girl doubled over the back of a couch with her bottom in the air. At the bottom of the image read the text, “Where Do Lost Chapsticks Go?” The image was intended to generate comments answering the question.

When a blog posted that the image was degrading and that ChapStick had been deleting critical comments, more people commented on ChapStick’s Facebook page and saw their comments being deleted. Then users began commenting on why their comments disappeared and ChapStick deleted those as well.

ChapStick had used the same image in an ad with the tagline,”Be Heard at” This infuriated people even more.

The whole issue blew up when people who weren’t even fans of their page began bashing them on Facebook. ChapStick finally took down the image post and added another post with an apology and their reasoning for deleting comments: to comply with Facebook’s guidelines. The damage had already been done however. Users were venting on other platforms, a Facebook page was created by the original blogger to house all the negative comments that ChapStick could not delete.

Catharine Taylor, from Social Media Insider, explored ChapStick’s website and provides useful insight in her article, “Read My Lips“. She found that the parent pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, was running the website for ChapStick and that they had a legal disclaimer stating that they are not responsible for the content of third party sites, like Facebook.

The lessons learned are to never silence your critics because they will find a way to publicize their views. If you are providing a platform for user feedback, monitor it closely and respond to comments in a way that builds trust with your customers. Lastly, do not let your legal department run your website.

-Brian Scholl


~ by goodpackagedconsumers on October 8, 2012.