Femfresh’s not so fragrant Facebook fail
Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
But maybe someone might have anticipated that mixing female hygiene products and social media might be asking for trouble.
One crucial difference between their marketing activities is that you can choose where you host your experiential events and make sure that your product has relevance to the people you are interacting with.
Facebook however is much more open and anyone can come and tell you what they think, so while one media might be appropriate for your brand, the other might not.
Clearly, marketing such intimate products is a delicate task, but the Femfresh tone of voice, referring to genitals as ‘kitty’, ‘nooni’, ‘lala’ and ‘froo froo’ has upset a number of women who find it both patronising and childish.
And they haven’t been shy in making their opinions known.
As the dissent grew, people began questioning why such a product is needed anyway, accusing owners Church & Dwight of giving women yet another thing to feel insecure about on top having to be skinny, have perfect skin, teeth and hair and so on and so on.
One user points out that the NHS advises women to only use water to clean themselves. Many others claim that using such chemical products will only lead to health problems and should you have any unusual odours or discharges you should be seeing a doctor not using Femfresh.
Inevitably, the fuss has also attracted a fair number of men who have kindly offered their own colloquialisms for future campaigns and suggested brand extensions.
So far, Femfresh‘s reponse has been to delete some of the comments and ask for respect.
No doubt they are busy plotting their way out of the mess.
Well, they needn’t worry about the men who will get bored and find something else to laugh at tomorrow.
However, they would do well to listen to the ladies who have raised some important issues for the brand to mull over.
Firstly, it’s clear that the campaign, with its childish names, alienates a number of women.
Whether or not Femfresh decide to rethink their comms strategy will depend on how confident they are that it is right. Are the recent angry visitors to their page representative of their target audience or just a load of noisy nuisances? Gap faced a similar problem when they launched their ill-fated new logo.
Secondly, they need to address criticism of the product.
One, that it is irrelevant and irresponsible.
And two, that it is actually unhealthy and damaging.
Failure to address these issues and take control of the debate would be a huge risk as they are genuine concerns from their target audience. If Femfresh ignore them, any conversation on the subject could still happen without them and using a forum that doesn’t allow them to delete the posts they don’t like.
Finally, they might want to rethink whether Facebook is the right platform for them to engage consumers.
It is a social network in the true sense, and while people might not mind their friends knowing that they like brands like Coca-Cola or Adidas, they might be reluctant to like or interact with Femfresh so publicly.
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