Forbes.com posts ‘dream’ apology from ChapStick

After ChapStick’s apology to women who “felt like” their posts about a sexist ad were being deleted from the company’s Facebook page, Forbes.com contributor Samantha Ettus suggests a more effective “dream” apology from the company:

We are so sorry for using poor judgment in putting up this ad. Thanks to social media, our awareness of the reaction emerged speedily and we were able to respond immediately by taking it down. Our consciousness has been raised and for that we are grateful. We have taken this lesson to heart and will not be creating any advertising that is or could be construed as objectifying women in any way. Just like you might forgive an old friend who messes up for the first time, I hope that you will return to us, unscathed from our mishap. Thanks for your understanding.

WOW, can you imagine? If ChapStick did that, I’d be giving it out on Halloween.

Ettus, a personal branding expert, writes that ChapStick has always been associated with strong women– from the Suzy ChapStick ads, where Suzy was highlighted for her athleticism, to other athletes/ spokespeople such as Olympic skier Picabo Street and ice skater Dorothy Hamill.

What happened to make a brand with a loyal, lifelong following of female customers who buy ChapStick for themselves and their kids, shift its marketing strategy so dramatically?

Ettus writes:

Chapstick’s ads have always been empowering for women. The real question is how they arrived at this point today. Now that Chapstick is owned by Pfizer, I’m envisioning the Viagra advertising team – a few young ad men unfamiliar with the history of the Chapstick brand – creating this off-brand ad. And then finally, the apology from Pfizer spokesman Ray Kerins as quoted in The Wall Street Journal: “This is a good example of us hearing what people have to say, making a determination and taking action,” he said. No real apology at all. Like a child forced to say sorry with no understanding of how this might translate into a similar future scenario, is Chapstick destined to repeat its recent history?

6 thoughts on “Forbes.com posts ‘dream’ apology from ChapStick

  1. Morgan, no-one is entitled to go on Margot’s blog and tell her she’s doing it wrong and use tone arguments etc etc. Whether male or female.

  2. Margot,

    This has really jumped the shark. You’re confusing a victory for the movement, with a victory in productively influencing the way women are perceived. The message has been effectively communicated “don’t f–k with the feminist movement in your ad campaigns” but, really, what lessons are to be learned from this tempest-in-a-teapot that would persuade someone to see females as stronger? The message that comes across is they throw a hissy-fit if they see an ad with a girl’s butt.

    http://www.peekinthewell.net/blog/one-step-forward-and-two-steps-back-for-reelgirl/

    Savor the victory, quietly. In one single post would be good — zero would be better. And like I said, leave the champagne corked. If this is emblematic of what you’re trying to do, a lot of people you should want on your side, aren’t going to be terribly thrilled with what you’re trying to do.

    • Not that I actually know Margot to be able to speak for her, but gosh, I’m sure she’s terribly grateful to you for deigning to tell her how she’s DOIN’ IT RONG and that she should choose the issues she speaks up about more carefully and be more diplomatic and tactful when she does speak up.

      Of course, if it were me I’d be saying “Ooh, Concern Troll is Concerned! Feel free to take it elsewhere and waste somebody else’s time, because I have less than zero interest in being told to be more selective in what I care about and more ladylike in how I express my opinions. And if you’re a man trying to tell me what I, as a woman, should or should not care about, you are cordially invited to jump in the lake.”

      • So telling you what you should & should not care about, is a privilege only for the women? And here was me, thinking the end goal was equalization among the sexes or something.

        Okay duly noted. You can only be told things by 52% of the population. I will keep that in mind when the time comes to figure out who’s enlightened.

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