Tide: A Swift and Clean Response to the #TidePodChallenge

February 9, 2018

by Bailey Morris

You know you have a PR crisis on your hands when the CEO of your organization has to talk about teenagers eating laundry pods on the weekly earnings call.

Nowadays when a brand faces a PR crisis, it’s regular procedure to take to their social media channels and address the issue head-on.  And before Tide tackled all of their competition in their quirky, bait-and-switch Super Bowl ads, they were keeping plenty busy tackling conversations about the “Tide Pod Challenge” on social media.

Like other daft internet challenges before its time, (“The Cinnamon Challenge,” “The Bath Salt Challenge,” etc.) the “Tide Pod Challenge” took the internet by storm, as teens began filming themselves biting into the brand’s laundry detergent pods and spewing soap everywhere – or worse, ingesting it.

We’re all about innovative solutions here at Curley & Pynn, and when we saw Tide’s creative response to the situation at hand, we had to write a blog post about it.

Instead of just posting a tweet that read, “Tide Pods are not meant for consumption.  If consumed please call poison control immediately,” Tide created a brief, funny PSA with New England Patriots’ tight-end Rob Gronkowski and posted it on their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Right now, the tweet has about 98,000 re-tweets and boasts about 10 million views – and that doesn’t even take into account the 286,000 views on YouTube and 164,000 views on Facebook!  They found a way to get their message across that it’s absurd to eat Tide Pods, but doing it in a comical way.

But why the larger amount of views on Twitter?  My theory is that it could be due to the Tide Pod Challenge originating on Twitter, and that’s where Tide knew most of their teen audience was posting about the challenge … but that’s another blog post for another time.

At the end of the day, it’s about remembering that public relations is “people relations.”  Tide can’t control what able-minded individuals do with their product – all they can do is tell them that it’s ludicrous, and that they shouldn’t do it.

So why not have a little fun with it?  After all, 10 million video views is nothing to sneeze at.  Unless you have laundry soap in your nose – then you might need to sneeze.


Using Humor to Not Only Communicate a Message, but to Inspire Action

February 2, 2015

by Kerry Martin

I love humor.  My favorite ads from this weekend’s Super Bowl were the ones that got the loud guffaws as opposed to the ones that made me want to squeeze my puppies a little tighter.

I’m sure I’ve said it on this blog numerous times before, but in my view, sometimes there is no better way to communicate with your audiences than with something that inspires a little laughter.  It’s always a more memorable way to share important information, let someone know they’re valued, or even apologize for an inconvenience.

So here’s to our friends at the GrayRobinson law firm who demonstrate that using humor can go beyond effective message delivery and also inspire action.

The government relations team last year launched a video series hosted by two of the firm’s legislative professionals that covers Florida politics and government.  While they do have great guests every week discussing important issues and topics, what’s refreshing is that they don’t take themselves too seriously, using self-deprecating jokes and even putting together a blooper reel.

What I appreciated the most was their effective use of humor this week in an attempt to ask their audience to do something which is so often requested but rarely fulfilled:  take a feedback survey.  How could you not want to help them out with an evaluation when they preface it with:

“Feel free to be honest. We can take it. Just don’t be too honest. Chris already knows he is shorter than Robert and we have adjusted his seat as high as it will go.”

They made me laugh … and complete the survey.


Super Bowl Ads are Popular, but are They Effective?

January 30, 2014

jhallby Julie Hall

Many of the ads that will be shown during the Super Bowl this weekend have already been shared online, and for good reason.  It’s understandable that companies would want to expand their reach when the rate for a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl has topped $4 million this year (and of course that doesn’t include the cost of production, talent, agency fees, etc.).

Although Super Bowl ads are certainly entertaining and many go viral online before they’re ever seen on TV, they may not be effective at the one metric that matters most from a business perspective—increased sales.  A recent study found that 80 percent of Super Bowl ads fail to increase sales or consumers’ purchase intent, in contrast to 60 percent of non-Super Bowl ads that were found to be ineffective by these measures.

There certainly are other advantages for running a Super Bowl ad, including brand positioning and awareness and that’s the lesson all marketers should take from this study.  Any communications tactic, whether it’s a 30-second Super Bowl ad, a news release, a special event or anything in between, should always be done with a constant focus on meeting the intended strategic objective.


A Decade through the Eyes of Advertisers

December 22, 2009

by Elizabeth Buccianti

Have a few spare minutes to surf the Web?  I’d suggest checking out Adweek’s list of the best commercials this decade.  It’s an interesting list ranging from lighthearted and downright silly all the way to indicators of major shifts in cultural thinking. 

The overall winner, titled “Grrr” is Honda’s way of bidding adieu to the diesel engine as we know it, but the ad also signifies the advent of the green/sustainable movement.  Debuting in 2004, the ad appeared a good two years before the premier of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” a film that created a great deal of buzz and discussion for sustainable and green ways of living.  Today, green advertising is in full force, with many ad campaigns focusing on environmentally friendly concepts.

Other ads that made us think this decade were Dove’s “Evolution,” chronicling the progression from ordinary girl to the current perception of beautiful using the magic of makeup, lighting and Photoshop.  And who could forget Volkswagen’s “Like” with a surprise crash ending?

The above ads were not just successful in execution, but created social discourse that extended far beyond a 30 second network spot, something any advertiser strives to achieve.

Let’s not forget the ads that made us laugh.  My personal favorite is the Bud Light “Swear Jar” and I can’t tell you how many times the Smirnoff “Tea Partay” was forwarded to my e-mail inbox – another indicator of highly successful advertising. 

The best part?  The best Super Bowl advertising gets a category of its own.  So take a few minutes to review this past decade through the eyes of advertisers.


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