It is now commonplace for brands to have their own Facebook page and when they’re managed correctly they prove to be an invaluable communications tool to engage with audiences. However, it’s not always appropriate for brands to utilise this space, and this proved to be the case for feminine hygiene brand FemFresh.
They recently launched their latest print and out of home campaign, which uses childlike terminology like “la la” and “froo froo” to describe the female anatomy.
Whilst this style may be excusable ‘Above the Line’, the patronising tone didn’t work on Facebook, where people expect to get into an honest conversation and build a relationship with the brand. It was widely criticised by women and soon their Facebook page became a hunting ground.
Outraged by the style of the campaign, women joined forces and took to the Femfresh Facebook page to complain. As the number of complaints grew, the lack of response from their Community Managers became more conspicuous and after just 48 hours the Facebook page was closed down.
Unfortunately for Femfresh they learnt the hard way that Facebook isn’t always the right way to go. Their flippant attitude to what is for some, a serious issue, meant that they lost all credibility and just passed for being insensitive.
Different brands find different usages for Facebook, for example British Gas claim their Facebook page provides pro-active response, self-help and engagement whilst Age UK use their page to humanize the brand and build relationships. None of these areas were right for Femfresh, and instead of thinking it through, and finding the right channel for their brand they went straight to the mainstream and easy option, Facebook.
It would have been better to pick a more private and informative platform, such as medical forums. There is definitely a need to discuss these issues, and Femfresh could have developed a credible role by helping out and engaging with women looking for answers. This has worked well for health companies like Philips Health who have created a number of LinkedIn groups to support their health products, and have subsequently become influential thought leaders in this space.
Putting the issues with the print campaign aside, Facebook was always a platform that Femfresh should have avoided. Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the product, an open environment for friends just would never have worked. Perhaps in the future they’ll know that there is no point in dressing up the issues that surround their product, let’s call a spade a spade or in this case, a vagina a vagina.
By Lucinda B. @LuceJB