A Thai company owned by Unilever recently came under fire for promoting its skin-whitening products by offering cash prizes to students. In light of a social media backlash that criticised the brand for appearing to link education to fair skin, Unilever Thai Trading issued a public apology over any misunderstanding regarding the campaign.
Speaking to www.worldtrademarkreview.com, Nicole Brion, Senior Manager of Digital Strategy at Consulus, urged brands facing this type of backlash to apologise quickly if their actions had unintentional consequences. She said, “If you are receiving negative feedback for a campaign that has already been released, brand owners should not be defensive about it. Openly apologise if it was really something that was unintentional. If you give critics more ammunition after the fact, you will keep suffering the backlash, so you should act, lay low for a while and try to exercise more purposeful campaigns in the future.”
Brion also added that the public is often quick to forget these ‘boo-boos’, saying, “The damage is really not long lasting. The negative reaction tends to be extreme at the start but then people forget about it relatively quickly. There is always the next thing to focus on, so if brands take a misstep in their campaigns, they can move forward by trying to not let it happen in the future.”