How to lose customers and alienate people – the Bittylab debacle

Every now and again I’ll come across a brand campaign on Twitter or Facebook that makes me do this. Not because it’s awesome, but because it’s bad. Very very bad. I find it hard to understand how there are still so many businesses out there that fail to to create a basic social media strategy before they launch a channel/activate a campaign.

In this instance I’m pulling the ‘OH NO THEY DIDN’T’ face at BittyLab. Little Britain puns aside (Google that if you don’t get it), their recent tweets have caused an uproar across Twitter.

Tweets (a small selection of):

 

Outrage:

 

Of course, following outrage comes apology. Except in this instance an apology whereby Bittylab cleverly accuse their consumers of ‘turning everything into sex’. Because clearly, being pissed off at their message that men should reclaim their women is all down to society’s issue with over-sexualisation. Insert eyeroll.

Tip 1: Do not apologise unless your apology is sincere
Tip 2: Have a crisis process in place BEFORE you activate your social channels
Tip 3: SPELLCHECK! 

So where did Bittylab go wrong? Besides the clear and obvious insult to all women everywhere (note: women are not objects, my tits belong to me, and if my other half ever tried to compete with my baby he’d be out on his ass before he could say ‘nipple’), quite simply, they did not understand the considerable power of social media. They did not invest the time required to create a well thought out and sanity checked strategy based on research. Lots and lots of research.  One of the most important stages of a great strategy is delving into the minds of the target consumer and asking “Will they identify with this message? Will they be offended? Will it make them laugh? Is it interesting? Is it relevant?”.

Sadly some brands omit this stage completely, either though lack of understanding or unwillingness to invest the money in people who know what they’re talking about. Sometimes the entire strategy is bypassed and social channels are used to push messages as an ‘add-on’ to an existing marketing plan.

I cannot stress how big a mistake this is. This is how sexist, prejudiced, or downright stupid tweets end up out there for all to see. When used for good, brands can leverage this influence and use it to push their message far and wide, but when it all goes wrong, well, take Bittylab’s experience as a warning. Not all publicity is good publicity in the era of social media – negative sentiment hangs around a hell of a lot longer and it’s not so easy to ignore an issue when consumers have such a loud, influential and insistent voice. Yes, Bittylabs Klout score will be through the roof this week, but their online reputation is in tatters. Brands, take note. Don’t let the next social media fail be yours.

Agree/disagree? Tell me why.

 

 

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6 Responses to “How to lose customers and alienate people – the Bittylab debacle”

  1. Trouble Doubled
    July 23, 2012 at 8:34 PM #

    Agree completely. They said they are mums themselves who advocate breastfeeding, yet their tweets portray breastfeeding as something that gets in the way of the rest of family life, which is bollocks. I would suggest that they do something along the lines of ‘Breastfeeding can be tough sometimes, give Mum a break’ rather than the expectation that I can pump myself into oblivion so that dad can take over for a bit so I can spend the time on the rest of my neglected brood. Honestly, bittylab haven’t got a clue.

  2. Sarah
    July 24, 2012 at 7:07 AM #

    I did have to laugh when they justified these tweets by saying they were mums themselves!

    I’ve obviously approached this from a social media perspective in my blog post, but as a woman, mother, human being, this insulted me on a personal level too. How can these ‘mothers’ be so misguided that they think it is acceptable to refer to women as property?

  3. bmommyx2
    July 24, 2012 at 7:36 AM #

    Agreed. It seems like a really great bottle & I’ve been waiting for about a year for it to be available. By the time it is i probably will not need it, but that’s another issue with the company. I’m still in shock that whoever was in charge of their Twitter feed didn’t use any common sense. Once they realized they screwed up they did’t spend more than a minute typing a insincere & ignorant apology & with every post they just keep sticking their foot farther in their mouths. They also don’t have a clue what they are talking about. I have two kids one exclusively breastfed & one bottle fed. Bottles are a lot of work no matter whether it’s breastmilk or formula. I don’t know about everyone else but there is no magical bottle washing fairy visiting my house & someone still needs to take the time to feed the baby

  4. RobbS
    July 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM #

    Three words: “Fight For Kisses”
    Do a search for that. I found it hilarious! Insofar as the BittyLab uproar, I was slightly amused by it.
    This male of the species Homo Sapiens may now look like one of the Neanderthals, but… lighten up!

  5. Justine Jolly Mum
    July 31, 2012 at 11:25 PM #

    Pmsl! how stupid do a brand have to be to pull a stunt like this?

    my oh wouldn’t bother fighting with baby for mu attention, he knows he would lose!

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    February 20, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

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