Does new ad show model ‘wearing nothing but her ChapStick’?

Did the marketing team at Pfizer come up with this one too?

After ChapStick took down its ass ad, the company’s FB page read: “We’ve removed the image and will share a newer ad with our fans soon!”

Nine to Five from Australia reports:

ChapStick Australia has announced reigning Australia’s Next Top Model winner Amanda Ware as the new face of its 2011 campaign.

Amanda will feature in a series of cheeky adverts, wearing nothing but her ChapStick – inspired by the brand’s new tag line Never let your lips go naked.

Cheeky adverts? Really?

Maybe ChapStick is trying to change its image, no longer highlighting athletes like Picabo Street, Dorothy Hamill, and Suzy Chaffee, opting instead to showcase female body parts. That would be a weird tactic, because I thought the ass ad was supposed to have nothing to do with sexualizing women, it’s just a girl who’s lost her ChapStick, after all.

I have no idea if naked women ads are really in the works (the link is dated June 3, 2011) but I’d be bummed to see them.

Here’s another link that sounds like a Playboy press release: Amanda Ware to bare it all for ChapStick  at The post reads:

Not known for their celebrity endorsements, Chapstick experienced a bit of a revival when Katy Perry sung about a “cherry Chapstick” in her debut hit ‘I Kissed A Girl’. The first ChapStick was invented in the early 1880s, making it one of the oldest beauty brands still around today with a comprehensive range of lip balms and glosses that covers the classics, shimmers and flavoured options.

So maybe the new campaign strategies represent Pfizer’s desire to reach a new generation of consumers, capitalizing on Katy Perry fans who don’t know ChapStick is known for previous celebrity endorsements? It would be so much cooler to just show the woman lifting the couch and finding the tube there.

Feminists are ugly, stupid, and have no sense of humor

Lots of feedback about the ChapStick story. Here are a couple classics.

“I have to agree, the person who is complaining about this add has to be totally out of her mind or she is jealous of the fact she doesnt look as good. Just more bullshit from some frustrated lesbian who wants to strip away any feminine attributes for some one who looks more like some dog from mars.”

And another:

“1.) I think the ad is actually in some way calling to the reader to focus on “maybe it’s up her butt” which is hilarious.
2.) Girls work hard to make their bodies sexy, and in the recent 2 decades, a great deal of effort has been put on the butt. Since girls similar to the one pictured in the ad are the target demographic (segment) for this ad, it’s genius.
3.) If you think this is offensive, then get a life”

Besides hundreds of emails attacking Melissa Spiers, who wrote the post on Reel Girl, or me, the issue goes beyond the ad, which everyone is free to have her own opinion about. Or not. ChapStick wrote publicly it wanted its customers to “be heard” and then deleted their comments; then finally apologized to those customers who “felt like” they were being deleted. See Why Chapstick’s bad PR policy matters.

We actually think the Butt seriously, Chapstick Facebook page is pretty funny. But I guess that’s because we’re the perverts.

Stats from Miss Representation

Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Miss Representation— a documentary about how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America– aired on OWN last week. TV viewers learned the following stats, listed below. Makes you think twice about taking your kid to a movie.

Only 16% of protagonists in film are female. Only 7% of film directors and 10% of writers are female.

Between 1937 and 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated movies. The female characters in G rated movies are just as likely to wear revealing clothing as in R rated movies.

Women and girls are the subject of less than 20% of news stories. “When a group is not featured in the media… it is called symbolic annhilation.” Martha Lauzen, Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film

“All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: That women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women. It is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.”
– Geena Davis

Here’s a a link to Reel Girl’s gallery of girls gone missing from 2011 kids’ films.

More stats and facts here. 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, 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?

Feedback on ChapStick’s apology

Here’s a comment I like on Reel Girl:

Reading the comments to the “apology” is interesting. What I came away with is the conclusion that by calling the removed comments “foul, repetitive, and spam-like,” ChapStick reinforced the notion the people concerned about sexism are foul-mouthed, strident (shrill?), unreasonable, and unprincipled in pursuit of their goals. I don’t know if that was their intention, but if so… brilliantly played, ChapStick.

ChapStick writes: “We apologize that fans have felt like their posts are being deleted…” Huh? If you feel like your post is being deleted, is it actually being deleted?

This is a great comment from Adweek reader Elizabeth Kraus:

I’ve used chapstick for years; I’m dependent.  I didn’t think the ad was offensive, but I do think that the ‘apology’ is. Telling people that you’re sorry for how THEY feel is equivalent to saying that it’s their fault for how they think and feel about what you did.  If the company was silencing critics, own it, fix it and move on. Telling people that they don’t have the proper emotional response, and that you’re sorry about that?  Makes me want Blistex.

Here is Ray Kerins (Of ChapStick I believe) comment back to her:

Elizabeth Kraus – For
us this was about listening, analyzing the feedback and taking action.  So even while social media is so new to so
many of us, we are committed to the dialogue.

As I wrote, I think it’s great ChapStick removed the ad, apologized, and is creating a new ad. But also, as I wrote, the deleted comments that I saw are clearly not foul mouthed, threatening, or spammed as the screen shots show.

Melissa Wardy of Pigtail Pals got this response:

“Thank you for your email. Our new Chaptsick ad was not intended to offend anyone. We are dedicated to listening to the views of our customers. To that end, we are removing the image from all of our properties.
Thank you again for your feedback.
Raymond Kerins

Melissa Spiers who wrote the original post comments:

All of the media coverage on this is great but this was not just a photo posted on the internet. When I wrote the original article (with the original photo used here and in Adweek, Business Insider, etc) it was because I saw it as a full page ad in a magazine. It was also apparently a television commercial, featuring a woman’s ass jiggling around on the screen. It wasn’t JUST a picture on ChapStick’s site.

We don’t know if there is a TV commercial. We haven’t seen one, have you? The photo, I believe Melissa photographed from a magazine; it’s certainly running in print. But the point was that ChapStick wasn’t listening to their customers and now they seem to be, so that’s good. There’s still an ad out there that many people find offensive and the company is now saying they hear that and that they are no longer actively circulating it. That is what they’re saying, right?

Read ChapStick’s full apology here.

ChapStick removes ad and apologizes

We see that not everyone likes our new ad, and please know that we certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone! Our fans and their voices are at the heart of our new advertising campaign, but we know we don’t always get it right. We’ve removed the image and will share a newer ad with our fans soon!
We apologize that fans have felt like their posts are being deleted and while we never intend to pull anyone’s comments off our wall, we do comply with Facebook guidelines and remove posts that use foul language, have repetitive messaging, those that are considered spam-like (multiple posts from a person within a short period of time) and are menacing to fans and employees.
As I commented on their page, as far as I know, comments made from Butt, seriously did not use foul language, spammed messages or threats (there are screen shots of some deleted comments on the Butt, seriously page.) I am not sure what they mean they never intend to pull anyone’s comments off. But I am happy they listened. Thank you ChapStick.
Read feedback on ChapStick’s apology here.

Why ChapStick’s bad PR policy matters

Yesterday,  Jezebel and Business Insider posted about ChapStick’s bad PR policy to delete negative feedback about its ad from its Facebook page– an especially questionable practice by ChapStick when its ad copy reads: “Be Heard” and follows with a Facebook page address.

As Jezebel wrote, ChapStick’s practice of deleting negative feedback is not officially censorship:

“Chapstick has no obligation to provide a public forum, and users are free to take their complaints elsewhere, as they have done.”

Last I looked, it appears ChapStick is now deleting the blatantly sexist comments as well, which I guess could be considered progress. But again, the ad implies a public forum. Furthermore, ironically, leaving up the sexist comments about the woman’s ass show that the picture is not just an innocent snapshot of a woman looking for ChapStick, that others besides crazy feminists bloggers find the ad objectifying, though obviously they’re into the objectification.

Jezebel writes:

What Chapstick is guilty of is really bad PR. When Dr. Pepper issued a much more objectionable ad, at least they allowed customers to sound off about it on their Facebook page. By deleting negative comments, Chapstick is sending the message that they can’t handle criticism. And especially if you’re encouraging people to use social media to talk about your brand, that’s a stupid message to send.

Business Insider agrees:

Social media is supposed to be a way to communicate with your customers — when you shut that channel down simply because they disagree with you, you totally negate the point of having it in the first place.

Deleting those comments served no purpose for Chapstick but to cause itself PR problems. It’s the Internet — even if you delete something, it’ll appear somewhere, somehow. True to form, many of the comments that Chapstick deleted were compiled by protesters on a new Facebook page (the screenshots show that most were void of profanity and civil).

What should Chapstick have done?

Brands like Chapstick have to learn to accept the negative with the positive, especially in a world with social media. By simply opening a dialogue with those angered and listening to their complaint, this could’ve been avoided. And the folks at Chapstick would’ve generated some goodwill, showing that they actually give a crap about what people think.

But no. They did the exact opposite, giving the perception that the brand doesn’t care.

One follower of the Butt Seriously, Chapstick FB page (created by Reel Girl for those deleted from ChapStick’s page) had a great suggestion that ChapStick show women in its ads being powerful and resourceful, for example lifting up the couch and finding the ChapStick there.

Obviously, this isn’t an earthshaking issue, but it is a striking glimpse into how corporations work behind the scenes to control their public message. And it’s disturbing to see that kind of manipulation operate under the guise of a public forum. The tactic is relevant to girls and women because so often with sexist products– movies that star only boys, the ubiquity of pink and Barbie dolls– the justification for the limited options out there is “we’re just giving the people what they want.” Clearly, there’s more going on in the background involving complex and elaborate marketing strategies. If you’re claiming to give us what we want, you ought to at least listen to what we have to say first.

Through this whole experience, I have learned how to spell ChapStick correctly.

Butt seriously, Chapstick

After Melissa Spiers posted on Chapstick’s offensive ad, she and many other readers tried to comment on Chapstick’s FB page as invited to in the ad. “BE HEARD,” Chapstick’s ad copy reads, yet all the comments readers made were mysteriously deleted within minutes.

So we’ve created “Butt seriously, Chapstick,” exclusively for those not allowed on Chapstick’s page. Please click like and be heard.

Hopefully, they’ll get it in the end.

7 yr old girl becomes youngest person to swim length of Golden Gate Bridge

This kid is amazing!

Ella Woodhead got in the freezing water and strong currents of the San Francisco Bay and swum a full mile. Her mother swam by her side.

“It was really cold, but I had a wetsuit on so I felt a bit warmer,” a bleary-eyed Ella said Friday morning. “I thought about warm and happy things, warm showers and hot chocolate.”

Woodhead is raising money for her preschool teacher whose husband was killed just before she was due to get a mastectomy. Now Tika Hick is recovering at home with her 9 month old son.

To make a donation to the charity supporting Tika Hick, go to

Read the full story on Ella Woodhead here.