If you have yet to hear about “The Tide Pod Challenge,” I would be surprised. I can’t even scroll through my Instagram or Twitter feed without seeing at least one meme or reference to people who are actually EATING the detergent pods.
It’s barely even a month into the new year and 2018 is already known as the year of the Tide Pod.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 39 cases of teenagers intentionally exposing themselves to the concentrated detergent in the first half of January alone.
Most of teenagers are documenting themselves eating the pods by posting to YouTube. YouTube has been working to remove these videos, according to CNN.
So, how does a brand like Tide deal with such a crisis?
The reports of teenagers and children eating the pods and becoming seriously injured and even dying does not exactly help the Proctor & Gamble brand. P&G, that distributes the pods, prides itself as the brand that can make everyday life easier.
Since the Tide Pod horror stories have surfaced, P&G has done two things that are essential for PR damage control. They issued statements addressing the problem and took steps to try to prevent it from happening again.
Addressing the Issue
P&G has distributed multiple press releases regarding “the Tide pod challenge.” The latest is an article written by P&G CEO, David Taylor, titled “Safety is no laughing matter”.
Taylor addresses the issue and shares how P&G is making efforts to maintain safety and encourage good decision making in teens and young adults.
“Let’s all take a moment to talk with the young people in our lives and let them know that their life and health matter more than clicks, views and likes. Please help them understand that this is no laughing matter,” Taylor wrote.
This statement is a “call to action” which is defined by CXL blog as “a combination of words or phrases that seek to inspire action.”
Call to action statements are a great way to show your audience that you care about the issue because you care enough to ask for change. It also is a good way to alter behavior so the issue doesn’t reoccur.
Social Media Message
Tide partnered with the New England Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski to spread the word that people shouldn’t be eating the pods.
So far, the video has garnered 9.6 million views.
Partnering with a public figure like an NFL player can help the message reach a larger audience than if Tide or P&G alone posted the video, especially since it’s Super Bowl season and Gronkowski will play for the Patriots in the Feb 4 title game.
Now, what do you think about Tide’s approach? Will all this bad press from the challenge cause sales to decline? Or is all press good press?