Honey Maid released an ad touting their new campaign #thisiswholesome in mid-March 2014 showing the diversity of American families. Honey Maid joined other brands such as Cheerios and Chevrolet in doing so. And having to manage social media backlash.
In a November 25, 2013 New York Times article, it was pointed out that, “Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.” These brands are reflecting the changing face of American families. Families which no longer resemble the ideal put forth in Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving painting.
These inclusive ads showing bi-racial, same-sex, tattooed, and military parents with their children have caused negative feedback on social media from vocal minorities. One group is calling for a letter writing campaign against graham cracker maker. Instead of retreating and apologizing, Honey Maid has stood by their inclusive commercial. And they created a response to those critical of their #thisiswholesome ad:
Why was their response so good? And how it can help your organization.
It is OK for brands not fall over themselves caving to the critics. Honey Maid isn’t taking sides in the culture wars like some are implying. What Honey Maid did right:
Know your customer. In that ad, Honey Maid is speaking to their consumers. The ad reflects the make-up of families today. The people who buy Honey Maid as snacks for their kid’s lunch boxes and for S’Mores around the campfire.
Listening to Online Conversations. Honey Maid was monitoring their online presence. A great response begins with great listening. You need to be monitoring the online space for conversations about your organization and your industry. There are platforms which help you do that free or at affordable costs.
Mindful of tone when responding. Honey Maid was creative and sincere with their response to critics. How you respond is important. Never respond in a dismissive or impolite manner, or you will only add fuel to the fire. Don’t allow yourself to give knee-jerk responses.
While you can’t be loved by everyone all of the time, you can control how you respond to the situation. Often gaining more supporters and customers. S’more anyone?
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