A Chapstick ad featuring a woman's butt made some people unhappy. But when they followed Chapstick's instructions to "be heard" on Facebook, they found their comments deleted.
Last week, Melissa Spiers critiqued the ad in a guest post on Reel Girl, noting that "the use of women's bodies to sell everything from beer to books has become so pervasive that we almost don't see it anymore."
So when we see it –- what do we do about it? Well, I would encourage you to take Chapstick up on their bold-print offer to "Be Heard at Facebook.com/chapstick" except I've tried that: they delete any comments even remotely questioning or critical. Hmmmm. What asses.
Indeed, with the exception of a few entries near the bottom, the Facebook comment thread on the ad was remarkably positive as of this writing. But Reel Girl established its own Facebook page to post screenshots of critical comments before they were deleted. At left is a screenshot of what the comments on the ad used to look like.
The deletions have enraged commenters further. Says Kurt Lohman, "The issue is censorship." He adds, "if you have a complaint about a company how do you feel about that company when they delete your comments and won't even acknowledge that they have upset a consumer. Personally I would think it was rather ignorant and find that behavior offensive."
A company deleting comments from its own Facebook page isn't censorship — Chapstick has no obligation to provide a public forum, and users are free to take their complaints elsewhere, as they have done. And in the grand scheme of things, the ad that started the whole controversy isn't that offensive. What Chapstick is guilty of is really bad PR. When Dr. Pepper issued a much more objectionable ad, at least they allowed customers to sound off about it on their Facebook page. By deleting negative comments, Chapstick is sending the message that they can't handle criticism. And especially if you're encouraging people to use social media to talk about your brand, that's a stupid message to send.