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How to smoke Smarties.

March 16, 2009

In this morning’s Ad Age newsletter, there was an article about Smarties and some unwelcome videos about the product.  Thing is, these videos have been around for about two years, but have been featured in the past week on CollegeHumor and the Jimmy Fallon Blog.

Why have they just now become popular?

“It’s not that unusual for a video to take a while to catch on,” said Kevin Joy, BrandIntel VP-marketing and client services. “A video can lie dormant for a while, and then it gets some exposure, media pick it up, and it goes off — at least until the next ‘Smoking Smarties’ video comes along.”

In the article is some discussion around how Smarties should handle this: should it sit back and let this buzz fade out, or should it intercept and take a stand, saying that Smarties does not condone smoking?

Here’s what Ad Age had to offer in terms of advice:

What to do if people are messing with your brand online

  1. Don’t fight it. Trying to cajole, warn, threaten or even sue someone who is misusing your product or making a joke will only come off as heavy-handed. “Maybe some Neanderthal thinks that they can control this, but the reality is no one can,” said Pete Blackshaw, exec VP of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services. And antagonistic attitudes will only invite more criticism and mocking.
  2. Survey the extent of the problem. Is it a small group of jokers no one will take seriously or a more reputable group? How damaging is what they’re saying or doing? That is, are they completing maligning the product and associating it with extremely unsavory behavior? Or is it just goofing around?
  3. Turn to your social-media crisis plan. And if you don’t have one yet, develop one.
  4. Be open with employees. They use social media too and likely already know about it. But make sure to discuss what’s happening and give them the information you want conveyed (for instance, what to say if a friend asks at a party, “Hey, what’s up with all these kids smoking Smarties?”).
  5. Respond accordingly. At the very least, have a prepared statement for any media calls. Make sure it is available to all senior executives who may be queried. And make sure to respond as quickly and as transparently as possible to any direct questions from your customers.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Crystal permalink*
    March 17, 2009 6:00 pm

    I think they should do a promotion with Bic lighters. Just kidding.

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